Paul K. Van der Slice, history professor

December 13, 2012

Paul K. Van der Slice, 77, who taught history at Montgomery College for 37 years before retiring in 2005, died of cancer Dec. 9 at his home in Bethesda.

His daughter, Jennifer Van der Slice, confirmed his death.

Mr. Van der Slice specialized in the intellectual, social and cultural history of the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a subspecialty in utopian communities of the 19th century. For five years, he was chairman of the history department.

As a Smithsonian fellow in 1998-99, he organized a collection of primary source readings on labor in 19th-century American utopian communities.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Mr. Van der Slice was a sailor, musician, photographer and a former treasurer of the Potomac Region of the Porsche Club of America. He owned a Porsche sports car, which he drove at rallies.

He taught a course on sailing and played trumpet in the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and in the pit orchestra of Montgomery’s Light Opera Association.

Paul Kingsbury Van der Slice was born in Bryn Mawr, Pa. He was the son of a college professor and grew up in England, Switzerland, France and Fayetteville, Ark. He graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1956 and received a master’s degree in international relations from American University in 1963 and a master’s degree in American history from AU in 1968.

Mr. Van der Slice taught at AU from 1959 to 1963, then at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis., from 1963 to 1967, when he joined the faculty at Montgomery College. He also taught in college extension programs at Walter Johnson and Good Counsel high schools and at the Montgomery County Detention Center.

He received Montgomery College’s Silver Medallion award for distinguished service.

His marriage to Katherine Rogus Velke ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Joan Goldberg Van der Slice of Bethesda; two children from his first marriage, Jennifer H. Van der Slice of Anchorage and Christopher K. Van der Slice of Ocean City; three stepsons, Dean Parker of Dix Hills, N.Y., Danny Parker of Germantown and David Parker of Darnestown; a brother; a sister; and seven grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes

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