Sylvan Oppenheimer, 85, a lifelong area resident who was a retired merchant and a founding member of Temple Sinai, and was active in the Lions Club, died of leukemia Feb. 12 in Sibley Memorial Hospital. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Oppenheimer was a native of Washington and a graduate of the old Central High School and Strayer College. He was a Washington representative of Singer Sewing Machines in the 1930s. He later managed a family arts and crafts business and his own cleaning establishment in Washignton, before becoming a manager with Aristo cleaners. He retired in 1980.

While attending the sixth grade in the D.C. Public School's old Force Elementary School in 1908, he became a friend of a classmate, Quentin Roosevelt, whose father, Theodore Roosevelt, was president of the United States. Mr. Oppenheimer played baseball on the White House lawn and accompanied Quentin Roosevelt to Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.

Mr. Oppenheimer and Quentin Roosevelt last saw each other when both were serving with the Army in France during World War I. Roosevelt, an Army pilot, was shot down and killed shortly after that last meeting.

Mr. Oppenheimer was a member of the Langley, White Oaks, and Rock Creek clubs of the Lions Club, and chaired committees seeking to help the hard of hearing.

Survivors include his wife, the former Henrietta Behrend, of Washington whom he married in 1921; and a sister, Dr. Ella Oppenheimer, also of Washington.