Nancy Frankel graduated in 1952 from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and pursued and received a Masters Degree in art education from Columbia University. She explored a variety of mediums, working in tempera paint and graphite as well as bronze, Plexiglas, cut wood and other materials to create three-dimension sculptures. Her abstract works reflected her interest in music, nature and human relationships.
Nancy was nurtured by a number of strong and influential female teachers as she studied at Tyler and Columbia. She felt the need to “give back” to younger female students once she herself became a teacher. She lived in Kensington, Maryland — midway between Rockville and Sliver Spring — and often took in hopeful female art students to help them in developing their artistic skills. She would often place “works-in-progress” on her front lawn. Neighbors would comment on the works while they talked with Nancy and whatever student was her current resident.
Except for Julia Birch. There was something a bit “off” about Julia Birch.
Julia had moved in with Nancy at the beginning of 2021. She was quiet. She kept to herself, unlike the previous students that lived with Nancy. Julia wouldn’t return neighbors’ morning greetings, She wouldn’t wave and she would rarely speak.
On July 28, Julia woke up in the morning, quietly went to Nancy’s bedroom and suffocated her. Then she called 911 to report what she had done and waited for police to arrive. Nancy Frankel was 92 years old.