Melissa D. McCarty, a homemaker, volunteer and docent, died Saturday at Gilchrist Hospice in Towson. She was 94.
The daughter of an attorney and a schoolteacher, Melissa Belle Dunham was born and raised in Northville, N.Y., where she graduated from the Northville School in 1935.
She attended Middlebury College and Northwestern University, where she studied theater arts.
Mrs. McCarty was married in 1937 to her childhood friend, Horace Dowman McCarty, from Baltimore, whom she met during vacations in the Adirondacks.
His father, Dr. Harry D. McCarty, a physician, saved his future daughter-in-law's life when she was a young child and fell ill, "further cementing the families' relationship," said her daughter, Melissa McCarty Warlow, who lives in the Woodbrook neighborhood of Baltimore County.
Mrs. McCarty and her husband, who was president of Baltimore Tool Works, had lived in Dickeyville before moving to Woodbrook.
A student of American decorative arts, especially antique furniture of the Colonial period, Mrs. McCarty was a docent at the Mount Clare Museum House in Carroll Park.
She also volunteered at the Keswick Multi-Care Center in Roland Park.
Mrs. McCarty was interested in her family's genealogy and history, particularly in the migration of her early ancestors from Massachusetts Bay Colony to the western frontier.
She was a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Woman's Club of Roland Park.
For years, Mrs. McCarty performed in the annual productions of the Paint and Powder Club, which raised money for various charities.
Mrs. McCarty enjoyed spending summers at a home she owned in Northville, entertaining family and friends.
Her husband died in 1979, and in 1987, she married James H. Cunningham, a financial consultant, who died in 2004.
Mrs. McCarty was a communicant and a former vestry member of St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave., where services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. McCarty is survived by a son, Harry Dowman McCarty II of Monkton; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.