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Passings : Eileen Slocum

Grand dame of Newport society

August 01, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Eileen Slocum, 92, the grand dame of society in Newport, R.I., who lived in a Gilded Age mansion along Millionaires' Row and who until early this year was a member of the Republican National Committee, died Sunday after being hospitalized with pneumonia.

Slocum lived in the Harold Carter Brown House, a Gothic Revival-style estate built in the 1890s by her uncle, a member of the wealthy family that established Brown University.

In her mansion, Slocum held fundraisers and parties for President Ford, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and Vice President Dick Cheney. She joined the Republican Party's national committee in 1992.

In her later years, she was one of a diminishing number of year-round residents along Bellevue Avenue, also known as Millionaires' Row. Many of her neighbors' homes had become tourist attractions maintained by preservation groups as their residents died off or couldn't keep up with taxes and estate maintenance.

Slocum, the daughter of banker Lawrence Gillespie, was born in 1915 in New York City. She was once engaged to John Jacob Astor V, then one of the richest young men in the world. She married John Slocum, a journalist and diplomat, in 1940. He died in 1997.

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