Emily T. Taliaferro, an artist and former Friends School tennis coach, died of stroke complications April 2 at Roland Park Place. She was 82.
Born in Baltimore, she was the daughter of Raymond S. Tompkins, a Sun reporter and later an official of Baltimore's streetcar utility, United Railways, and Marie Lanning, whom he met in Alabama while awaiting a departure to France to cover World War I.
She lived as a child at the Lombardy Apartments and on Falls Road Terrace.
"My mother said her childhood home was like living in a literary salon," said her daughter, Emily Lanning Taliaferro of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., who was a former official of the Baltimore City Fair. "Her father was by far the most important person in her life. She heard the news of politics, the arts, the affairs of the day."
She recalled in a memoir that her father's Sunday afternoon visitors included Sun writers H.L. Mencken, Frank R. Kent and Mark S. Watson, and a reporter-turned-novelist, James M. Cain, who wrote "Mildred Pierce" and "Double Indemnity."
Mrs. Taliaferro attended the old Homewood School. She was a 1947 graduate of Roland Park Country School. Family members said she doubled playing the piano there for morning hymn singing with a classmate, Adrienne Rich, the poet. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Randolph-Macon Women's College.
"She was unconventional for the times. In the 1960s, when her friends were wearing Pappagallo shoes, she wore blue jeans and paint-splattered T-shirts," her daughter said. "She was a Republican through her early years, but she was later influenced by the civil rights and women's movements and Vietnam. Her politics changed with the times."
In 1951 she married Austin B. Taliaferro, an salesman for heavy machinery. They later divorced and he died in 1988.
She studied at the Schuler School of Fine Arts on Lafayette Avenue in Station North. Family members said she spent her Mondays painting outdoors with members of the Baltimore Watercolor Society. She also taught for more than two decades in a ground-floor studio of the home she owned in the Roland Springs community of North Baltimore, where she had also been a board member, her daughter said.
Active in local art circles for nearly 35 years, Mrs. Taliaferro was a member of a watercolor society and the Maryland Pastel Society and was a past president of both. She exhibited her works at the Art Gallery of Fells Point on Thames Street.
Mrs. Taliaferro also taught drama and directed the plays at Roland Park Country School and at Boys' Latin School, family members said. She performed with the Baltimore Actors Theater and the Woman's Club of Roland Park. She was a Center Stage subscriber.
"She was an excellent athlete," said her daughter. "She won her high school's white blazer for varsity sports but never possessed it. It burned in a fire that destroyed the school's gymnasium on 40th Street at the end of her senior year."
Her daughter said that her mother focused on her tennis game as an adult. She was a member of the Homeland Racquet Club.
She also coached varsity girls tennis at Friends School for 17 years.
"She was ruthless at ping-pong," her daughter said. "She was also outspoken and had a zany sense of humor. She had a wide circle of women friends who just loved her."
Mrs. Taliaferro volunteered at hospitals and schools. She spent a day a week taking a woman who was both resident and staff at the Maryland School for the Blind to run errands and have lunch.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. April 10 at the Episcopal Church of The Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where she had been a 60-year member, choir singer, lay reader and member of study groups.
In addition to her daughter. survivors include three other daughters, Amy Bond Taliaferro of Marlboro, Vt., Austina Taliaferro Maclary of Newark, Del. and Nancy Taliaferro Faulkner of Santa Barbara, Calif.; and four grandchildren.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun