Joy Carter Sundlun, boutique owner

September 21, 2012

Joy Carter Sundlun, 86, who operated clothing boutiques at the Watergate boutique complex in the 1970s, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 9 at the Grand Oaks assisted living facility in Washington.

The death was confirmed by her daughter-in-law, Colleen Harkins Carter.

Mrs. Sundlun was an organizer of the volunteer corps at the Kennedy Center. She helped establish its souvenir shop and its usher program.

Joyanne Barrett Thomas was born in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, and her family spent summers in Newport, R.I.

She attended Finch Junior College in New York, was a model in Philadelphia and was millinery editor at Mademoiselle magazine before her marriage, in 1949, to Rudolph E. “Foxy” Carter. For most of the next 60 years, she would live in Washington and at a farm in Middleburg.

Her husband was a CIA officer, and they were posted to London and Sweden. Mrs. Sundlun later told her family that she also did undercover work for the CIA in those years.

For about 10 years beginning in the 1970s, Mrs. Sundlun ran Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin boutiques at the Watergate in Washington.

She served on the Kennedy Center advisory committee and on the executive committee of the White House Historical Association.

Her marriages to Carter and former Rhode Island Gov. Bruce G. Sundlun (D) ended in divorce.

A daughter from her first marriage, Cintra E. Carter, died in 2001. Survivors include a son from her first marriage, Michael R.E. Carter of Annapolis; and five grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes

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