Barbara Ann Griffith, horse breeder, dies

Barbara Ann Griffith, who owned Imperial Egyptian Stud Farm in Parkton, died of heart disease Oct. 21 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She was 77 and lived on Mount Carmel Road.

Born Barbara Ann Boone in Baltimore, she was raised in East Baltimore and was a 1951 Patterson Park High School graduate. She married Douglas Warner Griffith, an automobile dealership owner who went on to have Chrysler, Plymouth, Corvette, Honda and BMW agencies in Baltimore, Westminster and York, Pa.

The couple purchased a Brooklandville farm and began raising purebred Arabian horses. They later bought a larger tract in Parkton, which they named Imperial Egyptian Stud Farm after the Chrysler Imperial luxury auto.

"When you bought a horse from Barbara, you had to keep the prefix 'Imperial' in the name," said Howell Wallace, a friend who lives in Smyrna, Del. "Barbara and her farm were world-renowned in the field, but she herself was private and low-key. She supported anything that had to do with Egyptian Arabian horses."

Mrs. Griffith took over the operation after her husband's death in 1980. She once hosted a representative of the king of Morocco at her farm. She also visited Morocco, and he welcomed her with a banquet.

Entertainment figures Wayne Newton, John Davidson and Patrick Swayze also owned horses she bred.

Family members said she was a pioneer in importing the breed known as a Straight Egyptian Arabian.

Mrs. Griffith was a board member of the Pyramid Society, a group founded in 1969 by horse breeders who wanted to perpetuate the bloodlines of the Straight Egyptian Arabian horse.

She retired in 2007 and closed the breeding business.

Services were held Monday.

Survivors include two sons, Steven R. Griffith of Parkton and Scott C. Griffith of Hunt Valley; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Her husband of 29 years died in 1980. A son, David B. Griffith, died in 1996.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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