Marguerite Finney Dance, retired senior editor of The Maryland Horse magazine and its successor publication, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, died of pneumonia Sunday at Stella Maris Hospice. The North Baltimore resident was 74.
Born Laura Marguerite Stanley Finney in Annapolis and raised in Towson, she was a 1948 graduate of Towson High School and earned a history degree with honors at what is now Randolph-Macon College in Lynchburg, Va.
Family members said she grew up in a home where her father, Humphrey Stanley Finney, was field secretary of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and founding editor of The Maryland Horse.
"She knew everybody in Maryland horse breeding," said her daughter, Laura Dance Alexander, who lives in Bel Air.
Mrs. Dance worked at the Horse Breeders Association from the late 1960s until 2002 and helped the association grow from a one-room office to an organization involved in numerous facets of the thoroughbred industry, colleagues said.
Co-workers said her efforts were focused mainly on the association's publications; she served as assistant to longtime editor Snowden Carter, who said at her retirement, "She was the best quality-control expert anyone could have had."
Mrs. Dance was the magazine's fact-checker and helped The Maryland Horse expand into a national magazine. More recently, she was a copy editor for the magazine's successor publication, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.
"She was a real stickler for accuracy and [had] a tremendous knowledge and background of people and horses in Maryland," said Lucy Acton, editor of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.
"She was widely respected for her knowledge, and her co-workers relied upon her as an ultimate authority in questions regarding the English language, as well as pedigrees both human and equine," Ms. Acton said yesterday.
Mrs. Dance enjoyed reading and solving crossword puzzles. She worked the daily Sun puzzle and spent a half-hour completing the Sunday New York Times puzzle.
"She kept a huge unabridged dictionary on the coffee table," her daughter said.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 303 N. Main St. in Bel Air.
Other survivors include two additional daughters, Macey Dance Kimsey of Harrisonburg, Va., and Sarah Dance Parr of Towson; a sister, Patricia Hansen of Charlotte, N.C.; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. Her 1957 marriage to Milton Jenkins "Laddie" Dance Jr., a horse auctioneer and thoroughbred owner, ended in divorce.