Virginia Sandlass, 95, Dickeyville historian

January 05, 2004|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,SUN STAFF

Virginia L. Sandlass, a local historian and former member of numerous civic groups, died Tuesday of a heart attack at St. Agnes HealthCare. She was 95 and lived at the Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville.

She was born Virginia Allison in Bridgeville, Pa., and grew up in the Pittsburgh area, graduating from Tarentum High School in 1925.

She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1929 with a degree in English literature and moved to New York City, where she modeled for department stores, worked in a law firm and, in 1932, married Henry L. Sandlass, an architect. He died in 1986.

The couple moved to Dickeyville in the late 1930s, and Mrs. Sandlass, a homemaker and avid gardener, became active in numerous organizations. Over more than 30 years, she was a member of the Dickeyville Players theatrical group, Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church, the Mount Holyoke Club of Maryland and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She was also a member of the Dickeyville Association and the Dickeyville Garden Club.

"She had an active historical interest in the village," said her daughter, Alison Carr of Virginia Beach, Va. Mrs. Sandlass was the Dickeyville Association's historian and archivist, and made presentations to local schools and clubs. She recorded much of the area's history, designed a historical map of the village and appeared in a local public television program called Gone But Not Forgotten.

In 1971, Mrs. Sandlass and her husband moved to Elkridge, where she continued her commitment to community organizations, including the Elk Ridge Historical Society and the Elk Ridge Assembly Rooms. She served as a member of the board of directors of the Howard County Historical Society in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"She was very interested in preserving history for the next generation," Mrs. Carr said.

Mrs. Sandlass, who moved to the Charlestown Retirement Community in 1997, also enjoyed decorative painting -- putting her designs on furniture and household items -- as well as quilting, genealogy and writing poetry.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at the Charlestown Retirement Community, 715 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Sandlass is survived by another daughter, Elinor Cecil of Baltimore; five grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

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