Anne Moe, editor and equestrienne, dies

Anne Marguerite Moe, a retired editor and proofreader and Howard County equestrienne, died of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Sept. 3 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Marriottsville resident was 78.

Born in Forest City, Iowa, and raised on a Scarville farm, he was the daughter of Harry Oliver Larson, a farmer, and his wife, Esther Branstad, a homemaker.

“My mother’s love affair with horses began while riding the draft horses back to the stable after a hard day’s work on the family farm,” said her son, Bennett Moe, a Columbia resident.

“Her career training horses began when she taught her blind pony to jump,” he said. “Her gift of shining in the spotlight began when she rode the blind pony up the steps of her one-room schoolhouse.”

She was a 1956 graduate of Forest City High School, where she was active in the school’s music program. She then obtained a bachelor’s degree in English at St. Olaf College. She was an accompanist on piano for recitals and also played the flute and oboe. In addition, she sang in the choir.

She was also Miss Forest City at the North Iowa Band Festival, and was active in Girls’ State, a junior political organization.

In 1960, after she married Paul Moe, a U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist, they moved to Lisbon in Howard County, where she raised the family and continued to ride.

She was a 1967 founding member of the Central Maryland Saddle Club. In 1972 she founded the Centaurs 4-H Club and hosted horse shows at her farm. The Centaurs later established an award in her name.

“She was the original leader of the Centaurs, and when she found out I was a horse-crazy 8-year-old, she said, ‘You need a pony,’ ” recalled Kim Manuelides, a family friend for many years. “She was bright, friendly, direct and would always engage you. She was wonderful with kids. At Christmas gatherings, she played the piano and sang in the center of the family.”

She later moved to Sykesville and worked with Frank Gumpert Printing, then began her own typesetting business, TypeCrafters in Columbia. She prepared brochures and advertising materials.

She also became an editor and proofreader and worked with publications related to Maryland horse industry and riding.

“My mother loved the written word and could devour a book in a single sitting,” said another son, Peter Moe of Catonsville. “She was a keen-eyed copy editor, working over memoirs and autobiographies, and served as standard bearer for grammar, punctuation and style for The Equiery and Covertside.”

She was also a volunteer writer and editor for several club newsletters.

“She was a physical combination of Mary Martin and Sandy Duncan, with a Mary Tyler Moore smile that lit up the world,” said Crystal Brumme Pickett, publisher of The Equiery. “Anne made everything fun. … I can see her wearing a Norwegian sweater with mittens, drinking a Stroh’s Light instead of champagne.”

Ms. Moe hunted with the old Howard County Hounds and the Iron Bridge Hunt Club. She owned Connemara ponies and bought yearlings to produce show ponies and hunters. She owned and rode two of these ponies — Oakfield Colin Finch and Ridgetop Windy City.

She was also membership secretary and newsletter editor of the American Connemara Pony Society, and received the group’s Crestwood Award.

“She had a grace and dignity. Anne was the welcoming force for Connemara ponies. She was a matchmaker. She found the perfect pony for the perfect person,” said a friend, Judy Brescia, who lives in Lovettesville, Va. “She always made people feel comfortable at equine events.”

“Ann is a representative of the thousands of Marylanders who spend quiet, joyful lives centered around horses and the outdoors,” said Ross Peddicord, director of the Maryland Horse Industry Council. “She hunted for years. … I can still visualize her now, well turned out on a suitable mount, not a hard-charging rider but always keeping up with hounds.”

Ms. Moe selected and bought about four acres of land adjoining Patapsco State Park in Marriottsvile and supervised construction of her home and a barn for her ponies.

"I built this house to suit no one but myself," she said in a 1994 article in The Sun.

“She built it to be the perfect place for herself but it was big enough for her to host the family birthday parties she loved to host,” said her son, Bennett Moe.

In the late 1980s, she married a fellow hunt club member Bob Benhoff. They traveled widely in a recreation vehicle.

A knitter who used traditional Norwegian and Irish motifs, Ms. Moe made hats, scarves and sweaters for family and friends. She also created a special mitten for riders. She exhibited and won ribbons at the Howard County Fair. One sweater she knitted received the Fair’s Grand Champion award and was displayed at the Maryland State Fair.

A life celebration will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at the clubhouse of Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds, 18821 Windsor Forest Road in Mount Airy.

In addition to her sons, survivors include another son, Tony Moe of Ellicott City; a sister, Muriel Teague of Fremont, Calif.; and four grandsons. Her marriages ended in divorce.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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