Margaret K. Fresco, 97, whose research into local history and genealogy in St. Mary's County resulted in two books documenting aspects of life there over 266 years, died Aug. 29 at her home in Columbia after complications from a fall in July.
Ms. Fresco wrote "Marriages and Deaths St. Mary's County, Maryland 1634-1900" (third edition, 1989) and "Doctors of St. Mary's County, Maryland 1634-1900" (1992) , which were published privately.
Her first book, which took 10 years to research, consists of 500 pages of marriages and deaths from churches, newspapers and county court records. It is in libraries throughout the United States and is a top seller at the St. Mary's County Historical Society.
The 300-page book on doctors consists of biographies and genealogical data on 287 physicians connected with St. Mary's.
She was born Margaret Mary King in St. Mary's, the daughter of a doctor. She attended St. Mary's School at Bryantown and St. Mary's Female Seminary at St. Mary's City.
Ms. Fresco began her career as a teacher in a one-room public school for St. Mary's County. She married in 1926. During the Depression, she worked as a librarian and recreation supervisor for the Works Progress Administration.
She spent more than 20 years as a civil servant, working first at the Veterans Administration headquarters in Washington.
She also worked with the Army, Navy and the Air Force, including three times at the Pentagon while moving as a Navy wife, and at the National Institutes of Health.
Ms. Fresco traveled extensively during her 35-year marriage to Navy Lt. Commander Nace E. Fresco.
She rode a chairlift in the Alps in Switzerland and a rickshaw in Hong Kong. She was a guest on a U.S. submarine, which cruised submerged in the South China Sea from Subic Bay to Manila. She also lived in the suburbs of Paris.
She later became interested in the history of St. Mary's County and genealogy and regularly contributed articles to local newspapers and to the local Historical Society.
In 1993, she was honored for her books by the St. Mary's County Committee of the Maryland Historic Trust.
Ms. Fresco was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Major William Thomas Chapter, through four ancestors -- including a woman, Henrietta Slye Plowden (1710-1795), who lent the state 5,865 pounds of tobacco for the war cause.
She was also a member of the National Society of Magna Charta Dames.
Her first husband, Harry A. Myers, died in 1947.
Her marriage to Nace E. Fresco ended in divorce.
A son from her first marriage, Harry Amos Myers, died in 1987; a daughter from that marriage, Margaret "Peggy" Arlene Dietrich, died in 2000.
Survivors include three children from her first marriage, Alma Jane Schwertzfager of West End, N.C., Francis Bennet Myers of Charles County and Jerimiah "Jack" Myers of Marietta, Ga.; a sister; 17 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandson.