Mary H. Conover, businesswoman who founded MHC Appraisals LLC, dies

Mary H. Conover, a Carroll County businesswoman who was the founder of MHC Appraisals LLC, died Monday of congestive heart failure at Golden Crest Assisted Living in Westminster. She was 91.


The former Mary Helen Franklin, the daughter of Hanson Franklin, and his wife, Esther Hooper Franklin, was born in Sam’s Creek, Carroll County, and raised on the family’s dairy farm there.

She attended Hooper’s Delight, a one-room school located on the farm, and graduated in 1945 from New Windsor High School, where she was a member of the basketball team and acted in drama club productions.


After high school, she took a job with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and in 1948 married Harold Martin Conover, a General Motors and Cadillac automobile mechanic who worked for Westminster Motors. He died in 1997.

From 1948 to 1958, she worked in the accounting department of the old Cedar Hurst Distillery that was located in Finksburg on a site now occupied by Liberty Reservoir. During the 1950s, she managed the political campaigns of Democrat Thomas R. O’Farrell, who served in the Maryland General Assembly.

Mrs. Conover was part owner of T.R. O’Farrell Inc., where she managed the company’s insurance, real estate, appraising and auctioneering businesses for more than 50 years. She also was a manager of Windy Hills Farm in Westminster, where 1951 Kentucky Derby winner Count Turf had stood at stud.

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In 2006, Mr. Conover established MHC Appraisals LLC, which appraised such items as personal property, real estate and antique farm machinery. She was also one of the founders in 1966 of National Horse Sales, where she was secretary-treasurer.

The lifelong Westminster resident was semiretired at her death, family members said.

An adventurous traveler, Mrs. Conover enjoyed taking family and friends on “wild cross-country” trips, family members said, that included whitewater rafting, helicopter jaunts, hot air ballooning and off-road explorations.

In addition to being passionate about the preservation of farmland, she liked collecting antiques.

She was an active member of the Carroll County Historical Society and was a founding member of the board of historic Bethany Cemetery Inc.


Funeral services for Mrs. Conover will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Fletcher Funeral & Cremation Services, 254 E. Main St., Westminster.

She is survived by a son, Michael Conover of Westminster; a daughter, Susan Conover Marinello of Montville, New Jersey; and two granddaughters.