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Geraldine G.M. Dell, artist

Worthington Valley artist was an active supporter of cultural and educational institutions

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

4:19 PM EDT, October 22, 2013

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Geraldine G.M. Dell, an artist who actively supported and volunteered at various cultural and educational institutions, died Oct. 9 of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. She was 65.

"She was a very talented and vivacious lady in every sense of the word. She was a grand English lady," said Stiles T. Colwill, an interior designer and longtime close friend who owns Stiles Colwill Interiors in Lutherville. "She was just extraordinary."

The daughter of a textile company owner and a homemaker who were from England and Scotland, the former Geraldine Gail Meikle McKellar was born in London and raised in Ascot, England.

After graduating in 1964 from the Heathfield School, she studied French and literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. She was also proficient in Italian and Portuguese, and spoke Japanese and Norwegian.

"She has maintained many long-term friendships with people in many European countries and also in Lebanon," said her husband of 27 years, Samuel M. Dell III.

"After leaving the Sorbonne, she moved to Belgravia in London, where she established a freelance service cooking for senior partner meetings at banks and investment houses," said her husband, who met his future wife, a lover of classical music, at a performance of the Glyndebourne Opera in 1985.

They were married the next year, and because her husband was an Exxon executive, his assignments took the couple during the next five years to New Jersey, Tokyo, Norway and Brussels, Belgium.

"Her ability to connect with people from many different cultures and backgrounds was a real asset to me in my international career," said Mr. Dell.

While living in Japan, Mrs. Dell began studying Sumi-e, Japanese watercolor, and Ikebana-based flower arranging, which later influenced her own painting.

After her husband retired in 2003, the couple moved to the Worthington Valley, where she became a communicant of St. John's Episcopal Church and a member of its Altar Guild. She was an active member of the Music in the Valley Concert Series and joined the Garden Club of Twenty.

Mrs. Dell became a generous supporter of the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs, Gilman School and Stevenson University.

"Her husband, Sam, was on our board and we got to know her through him," said Dr. Kevin Manning, president of Stevenson University.

"She had been very actively involved on our campus for the last 10 years. She was a very generous and warm person who attended a lot of our activities and was a great supporter of the university. We're going to miss her," said Dr. Manning. "She was just a very good friend."

She enjoyed working in her English-style garden and painting in watercolors, especially botanical subjects. She was also a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists.

"As an artist, she was extremely talented. Her watercolor painted screens in the Oriental tradition were absolutely stunning," said Mr. Colwill, a member of the board of the Baltimore Museum of Art and president of its Friends of the American Wing, of which Mrs. Dell was an active member.

Mrs. Dell enjoyed entertaining family and friends, and was a member of the International Food and Wine Society.

"She especially enjoyed Brussels, where she could use her French and also travel easily to visit family in England, and to enjoy the wine, food, art and music of Continental Europe," her husband said.

"I've known her for years and Geraldine was a wonderful lady. She was always smiling, upbeat and positive," said Ted Herget, president of Asset Strategy Consultants and a Worthington Valley neighbor.

"She was a great cook and enjoyed making osso buco for me," said Mr. Herget. "Everyone loved her and she had lots of friends. She was just an amazing person."

A celebration of Mrs. Dell's life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 2 at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Dell is survived by two stepsons, Samuel Dell IV of Westminster, Vt., and David Dell of Wichita, Kan.; a stepdaughter, Katherine Goldberger of Fairfield, Conn.; and nine grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com