DETROIT (AP) _ Mark F. Ethridge Jr., former editor of the Detroit Free Press, died at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C., after a long battle with cancer. He was 60.

Ethridge was editor of the Free Press for six years, beginning in 1966.

A native of New York, Ethridge graduated from Princeton University and worked for five different newspapers before joining the Free Press in 1960.

He left the Detroit newspaper in 1973 to become editor of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal. He resigned from the Beacon Journal in 1976 to teach in the journalism department of the University of South Carolina.

At the Free Press, Ethridge was noted for his editorial opposition to the Vietnam War and his support of black political power, said Joe Stroud, editor of the Free Press.

''Mark made the editorial page more forceful and gave it a sense of youth,'' Stroud said.

Ethridge is survived by his wife, Mary Jane, two sons and two daughters.