- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2006

Marmian Williams Tharp Royen, a volunteer at several churches and a Republican Party activist, died Dec. 4 at Georgetown University Hospital of respiratory failure. She was 79.

Mrs. Royen was born Sept. 6, 1927, in Akron, Ohio, the granddaughter of U.S. Sen. Charles W.F. Dickey, former chairman of the Republican National Committee. She graduated in 1949 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and afterward taught painting at the school.

That same year, she married Thomas A. Tharp, and the couple moved back to Akron, where Mr. Tharp worked in the rubber industry. Mrs. Royen volunteered at local hospitals and libraries, and was a board member of the Junior League of Akron.

In 1956, the family moved to the Washington area and raised three children in Bethesda. Mrs. Royen became a leader in several Montgomery County and Maryland political campaigns during the 1960s, and served as the state co-chairman of the Draft Goldwater for president campaign in 1963.

Mrs. Royen was a founder and president of the Chevy Chase Women’s Republican Club and served as state headquarters manager for the campaigns of Brent Bozell for House of Delegates in 1958 and Jim Gleason for the U.S. Senate in 1962.

She served as a special assistant to the co-chairman of the Republican National Committee in the mid-1960s and attended the Republican National Conventions in 1964 and 1968, the second time as a member of California Gov. Ronald Reagan’s personal staff.

Under the auspices of the Junior League of Washington, Mrs. Royen continued volunteering at the National Gallery of Art as assistant chairman of the Docent Program and at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

In the 1970s, Mrs. Royen was on the board of directors of Iona House and was a volunteer fundraiser for St. Albans and Madeira schools, which her children attended. She was a member of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Northwest.

Mrs. Royen led a successful effort to restore and revitalize St. Paul’s Church in Caroline County, Md., and served on the church governing board.

She was appointed to several diocesan committees in the 1980s and 1990s, and was the Eastern Maryland chairman of the National Cathedral Association from 1988 to 1998. In more recent years, Mrs. Royen founded a Bible study group and was a lay reader at Old Wye Parish in Wye Mills, Md.

Mrs. Royen enjoyed gardening, listening to classical music, reading Christian books, collecting antiques and painting at one of her homes in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

She was a member of Kenwood Golf and Country Club in Bethesda. Earlier in life, she was an accomplished puppeteer, an illustrator, and television producer and interviewer.

Mrs. Royen is survived by two sons, T.A.D. Tharp of McLean, and Charles C. Tharp of Baltimore; a daughter, Lisa C. Tharp of Rehoboth Beach; a brother, Edgar M. Williams Jr. of Cambridge, Md.; and a sister, Adrienne W. Bowman of Great Falls. Her marriages to Mr. Tharp and W. Jay Royen ended in divorce.

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