Published On: Sat, Nov 20th, 2010

The Mod Squad musician Karen Deal dead at 57


Musician Karen Deal, keyboardist for the band “The Mod Squad” has died at age 57 after an illness. Deal is the wife of Jefferson Airplane singer Marty Balin and daughter of former WFLA newscaster Arch Deal.

According the Arch Deal, Karen’s mother, Margaret Lane of Hickory, N.C., is a church organist. He says, “Karen must have gotten her musical talent from her mother.”

Deal said his daughter learned the classics but was able to play by ear as well.

“Music was everything to her,” he said. “She loved her keyboards.”

A 1971 graduate of Tampa Catholic High School, Deal was playing keyboards with local entertainer Johnny Charro’s band when she and Joey Donovan met in the mid-1970s.

The pair got together with Rodger Stephan to form the Mod Squad in 1987. The trio played 60s music and opened up for notables like Spirit, Savoy Brown and Balin. Here she met Marty Balin and eventually married him.

Speaking about Deal’s talent, Donovan calls her phenomenal saying “She was half the band, playing bass parts with one hand and keyboard parts with the other.”

Deal is survived by Balin; her daughter, Delaney; her father and mother; two sisters, Diane and Shari; a brother, Doug; and a half-sister, Michelle

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