Lois S. Duffey

[ Age 96 ] Owned Grand National winner

November 10, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun reporter

Lois Salmon Duffey, who owned the thoroughbred horse that won the 1990 English Grand National as a 16-to-1 long shot, died of old-age complications Monday at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The Eastern Shore resident was 96.

Born Lois May Salmon in New York City, she was the daughter of Walter J. Salmon, a New York real estate agent and racing figure who bred three Preakness winners - Vigil (1923), Display (1926) and Dr. Freeland (1929). She inherited an ownership in his Mereworth Farm in Lexington, Ky., which remains in the family.

In 1935, she married Harry Duffey, a farmer and steeplechase jockey. They moved to Centreville on the Eastern Shore in 1946.

In 1990, she told a Maryland Horse reporter, "We brought all our possessions from Middleburg, Va., in one huge van - two cows, a pig, chickens and our furniture. It was some move. The house had no light, no heat and no water for the entire first year we lived in Centreville. We all four [Mr. and Mrs. Duffey and their two young children] never had a better time in our lives."

The Duffeys owned horses and competed successfully in steeplechase events in the United States and England. Family members said the highlight of her racing career was when Mrs. Duffey's Mr. Frisk, a chestnut gelding, won the Aintree Grand National in April 1990. He beat 37 horses in the race and set a new course record. Six weeks later, Mr. Frisk won the Whitbread Gold Cup.

"She was very down-to-earth and was a lovely person," said Lucy Acton, editor of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine. "She was just proud to be a farmer."

Mrs. Duffey was a donor to local charities and educational institutions, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, Gunston Day School in Centreville, Radcliffe Creek School in Chestertown, St. Paul's Parish in Centreville and the Queen Anne's County Hospice.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today at St. Paul's Parish Church in Centreville.

Survivors include a son, Harry "Stoney" Duffey III of Centreville; a daughter, Amanda Rutledge of Old Lyme, Conn.; five grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. A grandson, Andrew J. Rutledge, died in 1980. Her husband died in 1978.


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