By Terence Collier
JARRETTSVILLE Md.--Steve Dance, a senior member of Fasig-Tipton's auction team for five decades, passed away suddenly on Tuesday morning at his home in Jarrettsville, Md., which he shared with his wife Nancy.
He was in his 78th year and it was suspected he suffered a massive heart attack.
Steve worked until the last day of his life and the many sellers and buyers at Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, just a week ago in Timonium, would have seen him plying his lifelong trade on the auction stand in his beloved home state.
Hiram “Steve” Dance was born in 1943 in the small, country town of Towson, just a few miles north of Baltimore.
The then-struggling Thoroughbred auction company, Fasig-Tipton, in the late 1940's had appointed Humphrey Finney, another Towson resident, as its president.
Although Finney left Towson in 1953, Steve's uncle, “Laddie” Dance, Humphrey's son John Finney and Larry Ensor, all subsequent luminaries at Fasig-Tipton and all “Towsonites,” befriended the younger Steve and found a variety of jobs for him at a rapidly expanding number of the company's nationwide auctions.
Honing his horse auction skills under the likes of George Swinebroad, Laddie Dance and Ralph Retler was a daunting task, but Steve's hard work, reliability and enthusiasm paid off and he became a full-time auctioneer and bid spotter for the company in 1972.
From that time forward, Steve did not miss a single Fasig-Tipton auction in a career which lasted for an enviable fifty years.