Frances Steuart Green, former registrar of wills for Baltimore County who was an avid antiques collector, rail buff and world traveler, died of heart failure Sunday at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. The lifelong Towson resident was 86.
Miss Green was born in Baltimore and raised in homes on Allegheny Avenue and East Joppa Road. Her father, Dr. Joshua Royston Green, a Towson physician, used a horse and buggy when going on house calls, family members said.
Miss Green who graduated from Towson High School in 1936, was registrar of wills for Baltimore County for more than 30 years until retiring in 1968.
She became fascinated by trains as a child, and her father indulged his young daughter's interest by taking her in his carriage to watch the passenger and freight trains that chugged through Ruxton.
As an adult, Miss Green enjoyed traveling by railroad as well as collecting and operating model trains on her home layout.
She was a lifelong swimmer who taught swimming for many years at the YWCA in Towson. When she moved from her East Joppa Road home, she had her swimming pool dug up and reinstalled in her new home on Southland Court, where she lived until her death.
A collector with varied and eclectic interests, Miss Green was particularly interested in Green Indian china, now known as Rose Medallion, and had assembled volumes of National Geographic magazines dating to 1900.
She collected lobster buoys, sea shells, ivory carvings, elephant sculptures (always with their trunks up, meaning a sign of good luck), old books and anything made in Switzerland - especially cow bells. She did not, however, like cuckoo clocks.
In her 80s, she was able to fulfill her lifetime travel dreams by making two trips to Zermatt, a Swiss mountain resort, and the Matterhorn. Two years ago, her godson, Ridgely Britton, accompanied her on the Concorde and then to Paris on the bullet train so she could see the Eiffel Tower.
"It's something she never stopped talking about," said a cousin, Dianna Britton Skiba of Finksburg.
She liked spending long hours working in her garden and enjoyed covering her lawn with flags on the Fourth of July. At Christmas, she decorated two large trees with antique ornaments from her collection.
"Her favorite foods were hot dogs, silver dollar pancakes, day-old coffee and champagne served only in glass flutes," her niece said. "She hated anything pretentious and accepted anyone for who they were, and not for what they had accomplished."
One of Miss Green's favorite expressions, family members said, was "Let's have a little snort," at the cocktail hour, which meant visitors were about to be offered a flute of champagne or a glass of Grand Marnier or bourbon.
Graveside services will be held at 3 p.m. Aug. 12 at Prospect Hill Cemetery, 622 York Road, Towson.
Miss Green is survived by several other cousins.