Sophie Baylor, 97, helped schools, needy

January 18, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Sophie McLane Fisher Baylor, who spent her life helping those in need and endowing several educational institutions, died Friday in her sleep at the Broadmead Retirement Community in Cockeysville. She was 97.

The longtime Ruxton resident, who moved to Broadmead in 1986, was active for many years in Episcopal Social Ministries and CARE. She also helped to resettle European refugees after World War II.

The Gilman School, St. Paul's School, St. Paul's School for Girls and Virginia Episcopal Theological Seminary were among the recipients of her largess.

"She had friends worldwide because of her work," said a nephew, Guy Tilghman Hollyday of Baltimore.

"She spent her whole life doing acts of kindness for people," said Alexander G. Fisher, another nephew who also lives in Baltimore.

Mr. Fisher described her as being "very refined and dignified and a favorite of the younger members of the family because she was so modern in her thinking."

The former Sophie McL. Fisher was a Baltimore native. Her father was David K. Este Fisher, a prominent Baltimore lawyer at the turn of the century. Her maternal grandfather, Louis McLane Jr., was a founder of the Safe Deposit & Trust Co. in 1864 and, during the 1850s, was Wells Fargo's first general manager in San Francisco.

Her great-grandfather Louis McLane Sr. was a member of President Andrew Jackson's Cabinet, ambassador to England and a founder of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1827.

Mrs. Baylor grew up on Park Avenue and at Cedar Top, her family's estate in Ruxton. She made her debut in 1917 at the Bachelors Cotillon and was a 1918 graduate of the Bryn Mawr School. As a young woman, she rode to the foxes as a member of the Elkridge Kennels.

A lifelong environmentalist, Mrs. Baylor was a familiar figure on North Charles Street, where she would pick up trash and put it into trash bags she kept in her car. She stopped driving at age 88.

A member of the Mount Vernon Club and the National Society of Colonial Dames, she enjoyed the theater and symphony concerts.

In 1964, she married John Baylor V, chief legal officer for the Veterans Administration in Baltimore. He died in 1968.

A memorial service was held Tuesday .

She is survived by nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Memorial donations may be made to Episcopal Social Ministries, 4 E. University Parkway, Baltimore 21218; or to Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 309 Cathedral St., Baltimore 21201.

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