Mary Oakford Slingluff, a longtime patron of the arts and the Maryland Institute, College of Art, died Sunday of heart failure at Union Memorial Hospital. She was 85 and lived at Roland Park Place.
She and her husband, Jesse Slingluff, a lawyer whom she married in 1937, shared a deep affection for the institute. Mr. Slingluff, who died in 1985, joined the college's board of trustees in 1955 and chaired the group from 1961 until 1972.
"Jesse talked law every day at the office; at night, he talked Maryland Institute with me. Every night. We discussed all sorts of things about the institute," she said in an interview in the campus newsletter last year on the occasion of the creation of the Jesse and Mary Slingluff Endowment Fund.
While Mr. Slingluff was chairman, the couple saw the expansion of the college into the old Mount Royal Station in Baltimore. The college purchased the former landmark rail terminal in 1965 and restored it, saving it from demolition.
When she was in her early 60s, Mrs. Slingluff took up photography, an art form that she had admired most of her life, and studied under Jack Wilgus, chairman of the school's photography department.
She was a well-known fixture in Roland Park, where she was seen photographing the surrounding neighborhood or her favorite subject -- children. Her work was featured in several area shows during the 1970s and 1980s.
Douglas Frost, vice president of development at the Maryland Institute and a friend for 30 years, said, "Photography was a good medium for expressing herself. She could make discoveries about a tree or a child in a Halloween costume."
Born and reared in Scranton, Pa., Mrs. Slingluff was a 1927 graduate of the Baldwin School and earned her bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1931.
She was a member of the Colonial Dames of America Chapter No. 1, the Mount Vernon Club and the Women's Hamilton Street Club.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave.
She is survived by a daughter, Mary Slingluff Turnbull of Roland Park; a grandson; and four nephews.
Memorial donations may be made to the Maryland Institute, College of Art, 1300 Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore 21217; or the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 43025, Baltimore 21236-0025.