Martha H. Dance, Perry Hall volunteer
Martha H. Dance, who worked for The Arc of Baltimore and was a longtime volunteer and movie buff, died Thursday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at her Perry Hall home.
The former Mays Chapel resident was 61.
The daughter of Shearman S. Dance, a carpenter and farmer, and Helen Brown Dance, a registered nurse, Martha Helen Dance was born in Easton and raised on Norman Avenue in Lutherville.
“When Martha was born with Down syndrome, they told her parents not to take her home but put her in an institution, but she learned to read and write,” said Sandy Dance, a sister-in-law who lives in Chase.
Ms. Dance graduated in 1976 from the Ridge Ruxton School, and went to work for Blockbuster in Timonium.
“She was a movie buff and loved the films of Leonard DeCaprio and the ‘Titanic’ era,” her sister-in-law said. “I think working at Blockbuster’s was her favorite job.”
Ms. Dance was employed at Arc’s Homeland Center in Govans until May.
For many years, she was on the board of Forward Visions, an outreach organization that had been founded by her parents. Forward Visions helps the disabled lead productive lives and live independently.
For nearly two decades, Ms. Dance had been a volunteer with the Maryland Lung Association.
Ms. Dance was also a swimmer and had competed in the Special Olympics, where she had earned 20 medals.
She enjoyed traveling and especially sailing aboard ships of the Disney Cruise Line.
A visit to Hollywood was a “highlight of her life,” her sister-in-law said.
Ms. Dance was a member of Central Presbyterian Church, where for more than 30 years she helped in the church nursery.
“Over the years she held hundreds of babies. She loved caring for them,” said Sandy Dance.
“Martha had a disability — but she lived a wonderful, full life,” she said.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at her church, 7803 York Road, in Towson.
In addition to her sister-in-law, Ms. Dance is survived by four brothers, H. Stephens Dance of Jarrettsville, Anderson W. Dance of Chase, S. Scott Dance of Las Vegas and Thomas M. Dance of Kerrville, Texas; and numerous nieces and nephews.