Val Jean Slowinski, a retired Towson University professor who was active for more than two decades with the Cockpit in Court Theater in Essex, died Wednesday at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin of a stroke. She was 78.
The former Val Jean Sytko was born in Newark, N.J., and raised in Irvington, N.J., where she graduated in 1953 from Irvington High School.
In 1957, she graduated from Kean University, formerly Newark State Teachers College, and later earned a master's degree in speech pathology and audiology at what is now Loyola University Maryland.
From 1973 to 1976, she was an adjunct professor in speech and public speaking at what is now the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.
In 1976, she joined the faculty of Towson University, where she taught communications until retiring in 1996.
Mrs. Slowinski was a founding board member and served as vice chairman in addition to other roles with the Cockpit in Court Theater for more than two decades. The theater is on the campus of the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.
A longtime resident of Towson's Campus Hills neighborhood, Mr. Slowinski was a communicant for 51 years of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Towson, where she was a cantor, lector, Eucharistic minister, parish council member and choir singer.
She was also active with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, where she served on the school board committee and mentored in the Transformational Leadership Program.
Mrs. Slowinski was a Lady Commander of the Star of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
When her children were growing up in Campus Hills, she was an active PTA member.
For the last 30 years, Mrs. Slowinski enjoyed vacationing in Ocean City, where she was a parishioner, cantor and lector at St. Luke Roman Catholic Church. She also was a member of the church's Loving Hands, where she knitted items for premature babies and cancer patients.
She was a member of the Dunes Club in Ocean City.
A theater-goer, Mrs. Slowinski regularly attended performances at Center Stage and on Broadway.
In 1957, she married Donald J. Slowinski, her high school sweetheart, who was president of the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex until retiring in 1996.
In addition to being an accomplished pianist, Mrs. Slowinski enjoyed reading and was a nature lover. She and her husband were also inveterate world travelers.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Wednesday at her church, Baltimore and Ware avenues.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Slowinski is survived by three sons, Donald J. Slowinski Jr. of Norcross, Ga., James B. Slowinski of Greenville, N.C., and Christopher G. Slowinski of Vero Beach, Fla.; three daughters, Donna Jean Pamfilis of Parkersburg, W.Va., Mary E. Dorsey of Richmond, Va., and Patricia A. Curran of Hanover, Pa.; and 13 grandchildren.