Jack E. Hood, 74, of Valparaiso, Ind.,died Aug. 6 due to injuries sustained in a car accident on Aug. 5. Along with his wife Peggy and other partners, Mr. Hood owned many top Standardbreds, among them Manofmanymissions and Classic Photo. Most of his horses were trained by Erv Miller or Dirk Simpson.
The Times newspaper of Michigan City, Ind., reported on its website that Hood was found at the crash site paralyzed and unconscious, according to LaPorte County Police. The accident happened just after 1 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. 421 near LaPorte County Road 300 North. Police said that Hood was taken by ambulance to Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Michigan City. Several hours later he was airlifted to a Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he died.
Mr. Hood was born Oct. 4, 1939, in Decatur, Ill., and graduated from Tuscola High School and served with the U.S. Navy. He enjoyed his life as an entrepreneur, owning and operating Jack Hood Transportation, Express Newspapers, Inc., Kelsey's Steak House of Valparaiso and Portage and J and P Racing. He built the largest privately-owned newspaper hauling business in the United States, covering 38 states. He always joked that he had the "world's largest paper route."
At the age of 70, he and his wife purchased Kelsey's Steak House. The restaurant was featured on The Travel Channel.
Mr. Hood employed more than 600 people between his various businesses.
One of his greatest loves was his involvement with Peggy in the horse racing business. Over 34 years they owned hundreds of Standardbred race horses and regularly attended the races at Sportsman's Park and more recently at Balmoral Park. Gil Levine, the former announcer at Sportsman's Park, would refer to them as the "Hoods of Valparaiso."
Over 30 years ago, Mr. Hood initiated another partnership with Dennis Lakomy of Mystical Marker Farms. Among Mr. Hood's favorite horses were Kelly's Keepsake p,4, 1:51, who won the Orange & Blue and American National as a 2 year old; worlds champion Champion On Ice; and two Hambletonian starters, Classic Photo, the runner-up in the 2005 edition of the race, and Manofmanymissions, who later won the Kentucky Futurity.
In addition to his wife, who he married on Aug. 29, 1980, he is survived by children Doug, Stacy (Dale) Hood-Forney, Michelle Prosser, Greg, Jeff (Lisa), Cathy (Scott) Howard, Heather (Jeff) Klingler, and Chris (Kelli) Hood-Bennett; grandchildren, Daniel, Jonathan, Nikki, Jackie, Justine, Blake, Steven, Cody, Bailey, Grant, Taya, Evan, Logan, Hunter, Emma and Owen; and great-grandchildren, Cadence, Gwen and Ava. He was preceded in death by a son, Art Prosser; and grandson, Bret Laczynski.
A "Sharing of Memories Service" will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday (Aug. 10) at Moeller Funeral Home, 104 Roosevelt Rd., Valparaiso, with visitation from 2-8 p.m. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Monday (Aug. 11) at 11 a.m., with visitation starting at 10 a.m. until the time of service. Committal service will follow at Graceland Cemetery Mausoleum. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.