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Jane Pumphrey Nes died Feb. 14 at her Roland Park home.
Jane Pumphrey Nes died Feb. 14 at her Roland Park home. (HANDOUT)

Jane Pumphrey Nes, a Anne Arundel County real estate developer who was a former television documentary producer, died Feb. 14 at her Roland Park home.

Her son, David Pumphrey Nes, said his mother died in her sleep. She was 86.

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No cause of death was announced.

She was the daughter of Charles L. Pumphrey, whose ancestors were 17th-century settlers of Anne Arundel County, and his wife, Edna Griffith.

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Mrs. Nes grew up at Eagles Hill, a farm at the point of Broad Creek, a Magothy River tributary. According to a 1993 article in The Baltimore Sun, her family had settled along Curtis Creek in the 1660s. Her father, a real estate developer, worked to create Riviera Beach and Winchester-on-the-Severn.

She attended Calvert School and was a 1948 graduate of Bryn Mawr School. She received a bachelor's degree from Goucher College, where she studied with medievalist Eleanor Spencer.

In the 1960s, she became interested in television and worked for a time at WJZ-TV and appeared on camera at midday. In 1964, she visited Saigon, Vietnam, and made a film report.

Mrs. Nes served on the board of the old Woman's Hospital of Maryland when it merged with other institutions to create Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

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She was also a founding member of the Women's Committee of the Walters Art Museum and was treasurer when her group brought chef James Beard to Baltimore for series of cooking lectures. She also staged a benefit dinner for a charity, Art for Hospitals, for the Center Club's opening in the Charles Center.

Her son Charles Motier Nes IV said that after his parents divorced in 1967, his mother moved with him and his brother to Paris, where she became a documentary film director and a producer for NBC-TV's Paris office.

"My mother was a renaissance woman and was way ahead of her time. After her divorce, she was a single mother of two," said Mr. Nes, a New York City resident.

"My mother was adventurous," said her other son, David Nes of Baltimore. "She had always loved Europe, and she moved to France speaking only high-school French. She was tutored in French by a long-standing friend. She approached NBC and said, 'I've got a few stories in mind.'"

Her sons said Mrs. Nes created a documentary film on the Paris catacombs. She also covered the first flight of the Concorde supersonic airplane in 1969 and made a lengthy report of the May 1968 student riots and social upheaval in Paris.

Her documentary on the Spanish sculptor Miguel Berrocal received a Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale.

"Her film work gave her the opportunity to meet many artists such as Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso," said David Nes.

In the mid-1970s, she took over the family real estate business and began efforts to develop a 277-acre tract of land she owned near Solley in northern Anne Arundel County.

A 1993 Sun article noted that Mrs. Nes, as a young girl, spent summers "on the Pumphreys' various farms and attending private schools in Baltimore." In the article, she recalled that "when my father was developing Riviera Beach, there was still a wharf at the point of Stony Creek where the farmers brought their produce, because that's how they got it to market."

The article noted: "Eventually, her work took her around the world and back — back to real estate."

The article stated that she and her mother owned the tract the Pumphreys acquired earlier from another prominent Anne Arundel family, the Solleys.

"It's an unusual area," Mrs. Nes said in the article. "It's sort of like the orphan of Anne Arundel County."

Mrs. Nes eventually received permission to develop her farm into a 1,372-unit residential project known as Tanyard Springs.

In 1999, she and members of the Solley community won another victory, against fly ash. That year, a Sun story noted: "A community organization and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. signed a truce yesterday, ending a bitter dispute that lasted nearly two decades over the utility's use of coal ash."

"What she set out to do, she accomplished — in the face of a utility no less," said Charles Nes. "She was tenacious, and a hard worker. She was no-nonsense."

Mrs. Nes also worked on a book — part memoir and part original research — about the era leading to World War II.

"She worked on a memoir to promote a study for scholarship and understanding of the years leading up to and during WWII," said Charles Nes. "She had interviews with English, French, German, Austrian, Japanese and American natives."

Services will be held 11 a.m. Friday at St. Andrew Christian Community Church, 5802 Roland Ave.

In addition to her sons, survivors include a cousin. Her marriage to Charles M. Nes III ended in divorce.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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