Nancy Baum, a Grand Valley friend and educator, died February 28. Baum founded Ballet Arts in Grand Haven in 1965 and was named Dance Teacher of the Year from the Michigan Dance Council in 1999. Beginning in 1974 and over several decades, she frequently taught classes in adjunct capacity at Grand Valley and other area colleges.
A memorial service is planned for Sunday, March 6, at 3 p.m., at the former Christ Community Church, now C3 Exchange, 225 East Exchange Street, in Spring Lake, with arrangements by Clock Funeral Home.
Baum was married for 47 years to Professor Emeritus William Baum, who died December 25, 2007. He was a political science professor at Grand Valley for 40 years and retired in May 2005. Their son Jefferson taught dance at Grand Valley from 2000-2007.
Honors College professor Jane Toot fondly recalls her friend and neighbor. “Nancy used to ask me to go walking with her, which I loved but also dreaded because she had a graceful, flowing stride with those long dancer’s legs, and I do not,” said Toot.
Ardent supporters of the arts and political sciences, the Baums established two endowments at Grand Valley. In 2002, friends and family established the Nancy H. Baum Endowment in Dance, to support master classes and lectures for Grand Valley dance students. The William C. Baum Endowment Fund, established in 1998, reflected their shared interests. During even numbered years, the fund supports a special speaker on issues in American law. On odd numbered years, the fund supports a recital by a noted pianist.