Charles Sloan dies

Charles Sloan, who practiced law in Vienna for nearly half a century, died July 7 at age 76.

Longtime attorney Charles Sloan, who volunteered his time and legal expertise with many hiking, youth, medical and educational organizations, died July 7 at his home in Vienna.

He was 76 and died of brain cancer exactly one month before his 77th birthday, his family said.

“He was a man who lived every day as if the sun was shining,” Mary Margaret Sloan, one of his daughters. “He was very, very positive and embraced Vienna fully. He gave a lot of his time to support public causes to make Vienna a great place.”

Born in Johnstown, Pa., on Aug. 7, 1938, Charles Wolf Sloan earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and economics from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a law degree from Villanova University.

Sloan was an general-practice attorney in Vienna for nearly 50 years, often representing generations of clients from the same families.

Sloan’s law office was located within easy walking distance of his home in the town’s historic Windover Heights section. His back yard was home to an 1843 log cabin, the rough-hewn timbers of which are thickly chinked.

The cabin had been built in Arlington by James Marcey Sr. and occupied by members of the Marcey family for 140 years. Sloan and his wife, Daphne, had the cabin moved to Vienna in 1983 after the land on which it was located was sold for a townhouse development.

Sloan enjoyed hiking and helped launch the American Hiking Society. He also listened to the National Symphony and played pretty much anything the piano.

“He loved jazz and show tunes,” Mary Margaret Sloan said. “He had inherited a baby grand Steinway. He was the go-to guy for Christmas parties, where he’d play Christmas carols.”

Charles Sloan was involved with local, national and international non-profit groups, including the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Potomac Greenways and former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs’ Youth for Tomorrow.

Tom Johnson, who served with him on the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, said that as the group’s general counsel, Sloan remained unruffled when confronted with knotty legal issues.

“Eventually, all eyes and ears would turn to Chuck as our legal  counsel,” Johnson said. “He would explain to the hyperventilating among us that we could all calm down, that there was absolutely no precedent in case law for a trail club being sued over such an issue, and that the matter would go away. That was Chuck. He had case law pertaining to trails down cold, and you could not get him agitated.”  

Sloan also was co-chair of the Louise Archer Elementary School PTA in the 1970s and served on Vienna’s Windover Heights Board of Review when it first was conceived.

Sloan founded and chaired the boards of the Tanzania Education Fund and the Tanzania Medical Clinic, and his family recommends that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to those two groups.

Sloan is survived by his wife of 49 years, Daphne Sloan, of Vienna; daughters Mary Margaret Sloan of Windsor, Vt., and Susannah Sloan of Durham, N.C.; sons Burton Sloan of Boulder, Colo., and Charles Sloan Jr. of Bagamoya, Tanzania; and five grandchildren.

Funeral services were held July 11 at St. Mark Catholic Church in the Vienna area. Sloan’s ashes will be interred in the church’s columbarium.

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