Margaret Florence Sloan, lifelong Pittsburgh resident, died peacefully on October 13, two days before her 102nd birthday. She lived mostly in Aspinwall, then Lighthouse Point in Fox Chapel and finally The Willows at Presbyterian SeniorCare in Oakmont. She was the daughter of Walter Roy Sloan and Anna Bell Sloan, and sister of Dorothy Sloan Ahl (Charles) and John Andrew Sloan (Ada), all of whom preceded her in death.
She graduated in 1938 from Westminster College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. An essential member of the family business, Sloan Brothers Company, started in 1922, she was administrative assistant first to her father, Walter R. Sloan, and then to her brother, John A. Sloan. The company still thrives under fourth-generation management.
Among the many travels she enjoyed were visits to Scandinavia, the Philippines, Cuba, the Panama Canal and a voyage on the QE2 to Great Britain. She had a wide circle of friends, including a group of women who formed an investment club. She used some of the profits of those investments to take seven of her teenaged nieces and nephews on the adventure of their young lives to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Those family survivors are Andrew K. Sloan (Beth) of Pensacola, FL; Judith S. Neyhart (Jeffrey) of Bonita Springs, FL; Nancy Sloan (Robert Erdeljac) of Oakmont, PA; Walter R. Sloan (Natalie) of Gibsonia, PA; Anne A. Werth of Edgewood, PA; David S. Ahl (Tina) of Rye, NY; and Barbara A. Watkins (Scott) of Suttons Bay, MI. She is also survived by 11 great nieces and nephews and 13 great-great nieces and nephews.
Her entire church life was spent in the congregation of Third Presbyterian Church in Shadyside, where she served as one of the first female deacons in 1966. She was an enthusiastic supporter of a wide variety of Pittsburgh cultural organizations, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Ballet Theatre, Cultural Trust, Public Theater, the Frick and the Heinz History Center, to name a few.
Her sister Dorothy called her Margie, so her offspring call her Aunt Margie. Her baby brother, Jack, could not say Margie, so to Jack’s offspring she is Aunt Marnie.
Marnie’s home as a child was at Beverly Place in Highland Park, where her father and mother, Walter and Anne, along with Marnie, Dorothy and Jack, lived with their grandfather, John A. Sloan and grandmother, Florence. That home is now occupied by her great nephew, Brian Sloan, and his wife, Katie, and their children. Her next home was built for their family on Valley Drive in Aspinwall, now the home of another great nephew, C.J. Sloan, his wife, DeAnn, and their children.
The home on Valley Drive was the location of family dinners many times a year where the far-flung family could gather, break bread together and celebrate togetherness. We all cherished those Thanksgivings, Christmases and Sunday dinners where everyone ate well, laughed and played the parlor games that Aunt Marnie organized for the young ones. It was in that house that we saw our first television program – gathering together to watch Ed Sullivan.
Margie and her mother shared a love for needlepoint, sewing and knitting. All her family were the beneficiaries of her handcrafted gifts – smocked dresses, hand-knit sweaters, hats and mittens, and beautiful needlepoint artwork. One of the lasting treasures from the Third Church Christmas bazaar every year were the annual church mouse ornaments. From a small start in the 1970s, demand grew so great that a five person assembly line was required for production. Best known mouse variations were the elaborately dressed gardener mouse and the Steeler mouse. Margie also gave them as keepsakes to her appreciative family members, whose collections are fondly displayed every year.
Margie and her parents also hosted wedding showers, baby showers, brunches and other special occasions in the Valley Drive home to celebrate the life stages of the growing family. The children loved these occasions as Margie always planned games, surprises and grab bags to delight us at all ages. We especially remember running around the sunporch “circle” to the tune of the Hungarian Rhapsody. When we left home for college, we could count on Aunt Margie for birthday cards, notes to celebrate our college grades, and attendance at all our graduations. Every family member was special to Margie, from the youngest to the eldest, and she never forgot a birthday. She continued with the patriotic tradition of her parents to buy Savings Bonds to teach her nieces and nephews the Sloan value of saving.
When it became necessary for her to move to Lighthouse Point in Fox Chapel, she organized the crafty ladies there to crochet necklaces out of ribbons to sell for the benefit of the facility’s parties.
In 2017, at her 100th birthday party, her many family and friends traveled from across the country to honor her with songs, poems and her traditional specialties – spiced pecans and iced orange cookies. That celebratory and heart-felt event signified the sheer number of people who were touched by her generosity, humility, and overall loving spirit. We will all miss her greatly and are quick to acknowledge that we are fortunate to have known her presence throughout our lives.
A memorial service will be held Friday, November 8, 2019, 11 a.m. at Third Presbyterian Church, 5701 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her honor to the church would be welcome.
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