Emily Taliaferro, past president of the Baltimore Watercolor Society
- Deceased's name: Emily Tompkins Taliaferro
- Age: 82
Painter Emily T. Taliaferro died April 2, 2012 at Roland Park Place. She was 82.
Also an athlete, actress, musician and teacher, Mrs. Taliaferro spent most of her time in northwest Baltimore. There were notable exceptions, including four years at college in Virginia; painting trips abroad; a church tour of Israel; and visits with her four daughters around the United States.
Mrs. Taliaferro was born in Baltimore on May 28, 1929 to Raymond Sidney and Marie Lanning Tompkins. Her father, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, had met her mother, one of the few female college students in Alabama, while he was stationed in Anniston with a Maryland regiment preparing to deploy to France in World War I.
Her family lived in the Lombardy Apartments when she was a toddler, then moved to Falls Road Terrace. Mrs. Taliaferro attended the Homewood School in the early grades and then Roland Park Country School, from which she graduated in 1947. She graduated from Randolph-Macon Women’s College, her mother’s alma mater, in 1951.
She married Austin B. Taliaferro at St. David’s Church on Roland Avenue in 1951. They lived first on Calvert Street, then bought a house on Lake Avenue, next door to her sister-in-law and brother, Mary (Binky) Tompkins and the late Ray (Tommy) Tompkins in a neighborhood filled with young families. They moved to Edgevale Road in 1960. She and Mr. Taliaferro were divorced in 1976. He died in 1988.
Mrs. Taliaferro was a member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society, serving on its Board of Directors, as Exhibition Chairman 1993-96, Vice President from 1996-98 and President 1998-2000. She was also a long-time member and past president of the Maryland Pastel Society. She was a member of the Art Gallery of Fells Point, an artist cooperative established in 1980. She painted and exhibited for 35 years, and her works are in collections throughout the United States.
She studied primarily at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore. In the summer and fall, she painted outside with BWS members every Monday—unless the weather was very bad. She also taught painting for 25 years, turning the ground floor of her townhouse in Roland Springs into a suite of studio and workrooms.
Mrs. Taliaferro taught drama and directed the plays at RPCS with the Boy’s Latin School for eight years. She acted in productions at the Baltimore Actors Theater and the Women’s Club of Roland Park. For years, she held season tickets to Center Stage with her friend Betsy Goldsborough.
Primarily a singer, she sang in the glee clubs at RPCS and RMWC, for several years with the Phoenix Choir of Baltimore, and in the alto section of the choir at the Church of the Redeemer. She also played piano—at school, morning-hymn duty shared with classmate Adrienne Rich and at home playing everything from Gilbert and Sullivan to sentimental ballads of the 1940s. She played the baritone ukelele in duets with her husband.
An excellent athlete, Mrs. Taliaferro won the RPCS white blazer for varsity sports but never possessed it, as it burned in a fire that destroyed the school’s gymnasium on 40th Street at the end of her senior year. As an adult, she concentrated on tennis. A member of the Homeland Racquet Club, she was a seeded Interclub Doubles competitor with her partner and best friend, Ricki Nielsen. She coached varsity girls tennis at Friends School for 17 years. She was ruthless at ping-pong.
A member of the Church of the Redeemer for nearly 60 years, she loved small-group study there and became a lay reader and intercessor.
Volunteer work over the years included local hospitals and a senior-citizen program tutoring second-graders at Roland Park Country School. In her sixties she spent one day a week taking a woman who was both resident and staff at the Maryland School for the Blind out to run errands and have lunch. She served on the board of the Roland Springs community.
She is survived by four children: Amy Bond Taliaferro of Marlboro, VT; Austina Taliaferro Maclary of Newark, DE; Nancy Taliaferro Faulkner of Santa Barbara, CA; and Emily Lanning Taliaferro of Croton-on-Hudson, NY; four grandchildren, Austin Lange, Anne Lange Dabrowski, Rachel Maclary and Emily Maclary; eight nieces and nephews and many cousins.
A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10 at The Church of The Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Baltimore.
The family asks that memorial donations in her name be made to the National Organization for Women or the Church of the Redeemer.