Millicent R. Tyler, a former model and interior design and upholstery business owner, dies

Millicent R. Tyler, a former model who later owned and operated a small interior design and upholstery business and was an avid world traveler, died of cancer April 26 at her Guilford home. She was 88.

The former Millicent Rosenberg, the daughter of Milton Rosenberg and his wife, Ruby Butler Rosenberg, a homemaker, was born and raised in Kannapolis, North Carolina. After her father died when she was 8 years old, her mother married Charles Perry, a Ciba pharmaceutical salesperson.


Mrs. Tyler was also a descendant of President George Washington and was an active member of the National Society of Washington Family Descendants.

After graduating from high school in Kannapolis, she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1956 from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.


After graduating from college, Retta Robbins, a close friend, and Mrs. Tyler drove to Dallas, where the latter worked in merchandising and as a clothing model for Fred Greenhill, the noted fashion illustrator, who worked for two Dallas stores, Sanger Brothers and Neiman Marcus. She later moved to New York City, where she was employed by Saks Fifth Avenue and later Lord & Taylor.

In the late 1950s, she and Ms. Robbins sailed to Europe, eventually settling in Paris where Mrs. Tyler earned a master’s degree in French literature from La Sorbonne. A few years later, she returned to the U.S. and met and fell in love with George Thomas Tyler III, a fellow Southerner, whom she married in 1961.

The couple settled in Govans, while her husband, a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, studied law at Georgetown University Law School, from which he obtained his law degree in 1963.

“She enjoyed the creativity of fashion,” according to a biographical profile written by her children.

An accomplished seamstress, she made many of her children’s clothes, and later taught herself how to upholster furniture. She eventually established a small interior design and upholstery business, and taught upholstery to friends and neighbors, family members said.

In 1972, she and her husband settled in Guilford, where their Greenway home overlooked Sherwood Gardens, and she helped spearhead the effort that resulted in Music in the Park.

She was an active member of the Women’s Civic League of Baltimore, Mount Vernon Club, and the Woman’s Club of Roland Park.

Mrs. Tyler maintained a vigorous lifestyle until September, when she was diagnosed with the cancer that ended her life. Nearly 80, she purchased a new Mini automobile and joined a gym where she exercised five days a week in the swimming pool.

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She also pursued a lifelong love of travel. She visited Europe many times and traveled extensively throughout the U.S., and as far as China, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, family members said.

Her husband, a partner at the Baltimore law firm of Ober Kaler Grimes & Shriver, now Ober Kaler, who had practiced health care law, preferred working in his rose and vegetable garden, to travel.

“He only traveled because my mother liked traveling,” Millicent Ann Tyler, of Guilford, explained in a 2010 Baltimore Sun obituary for her father. “He did enjoy visiting London and Italy, but I think he really enjoyed staying home.”

“Millicent is remembered for her quiet politeness, her moxie, radical hospitality and constant Southern genteel manners,” according to Mrs. Tyler’s biographical profile. “Even though she spent the majority of her life in Maryland, her soft North Carolinian accent never left her. She had many friends and admirers and was very active socially until the end of her life.”

Mrs. Tyler was a longtime communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Cedarcroft, now the Episcopal Church of the Nativity and Holy Comforter Lutheran Church.

Graveside services were held Friday at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia.


In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Tyler is survived by two sons, George Thomas Tyler IV of London and John Paul Tyler of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and seven grandchildren.