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Kenneth D. "Dave" Stohler, 73, passes away

November 18, 2016
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Kenneth D. "Dave" Stohler, of Markleville, Indiana, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the St. Vincent Seton Specialty Hospital, Indianapolis, after battling medical issues.

Following his father, Leo, and father-in-law, Sam Pate, into the Standardbred industry, Mr. Stohler became a member of the United States Trotting Association in 1979. It was a trip to the county fair in Connersville, Indiana, where he and his brother became horse owners. They purchased Range Pat and Red Wing Ranger from veteran horseman Ralph Wilfong.

While working full time at his regular job, Mr. Stohler trained and raced horses on the side. Training horses also led to him and his family deciding to breed some of their own stock. The Stohler's saw something special in their third horse purchase, who also became their foundation mare, Hasty Grand Slam. Although from a humble pedigree and performance on the track, she produced the winners of $1,420,905.

One of the mare's early foals was former World Record holder Smartdecision (p,1:53.3; $216,475). However, her best performer was the mare Extreme Velocity, referred to by the Stohler's as "EV", who won the 1997 Breeders Crown for Aged Mare Pacers in 1:50.3 at the Meadowlands with Hall of Fame Driver, John Campbell, aboard. Over the course of her racing career, EV made 79 starts, resulting in 40 wins, 10 seconds, and 14 thirds, with lifetime earnings totaling $856,070.

EV also proved to be a successful broodmare for the Stohler Family, with her offspring earning $1,204,631 to date. Among her foals are Continual Velocity p,3,1:54; 4,1:50.2f ($558,980) and the ill-fated Ultimate Velocity p,3,1:53; 4,1:51.1 ($254,373).

For Mr. Stohler, the best thing about the Standardbred industry was the fact it is so family oriented. He was able to share his passion for harness racing with his family and friends. His son, Trent, is an active trainer based in Indiana, who has driven the winners of $6,353,290 and trained the winners of $7,439,202. Helping at his son's training center and watching his horses compete on the racetrack filled Mr. Stohler's life with much joy and satisfaction, as he was proud of his achievements.
 
Mr. Stohler was born on June 2, 1943, at the family home in Markleville, and resided all of his life in Markleville. He attended Markleville schools where he participated in baseball, track and basketball..He graduated in 1961.

After graduation, he went to work at Delco Remy Division of General Motors in the fall of 1961. While at Delco, he started as an hourly employee, then was a salaried supervisor in Plant 7 and Plant 20. After 24 years as a supervisor, he returned to an hourly employee and retired on January 1, 1997.
 
On February 22, 1963, he married his high school sweetheart, Sheralyn (Pate) Stohler. They built their home in Markleville where they continued to live until his death.

They were blessed with two sons, Thad and Trent. During this time, he coached Little League baseball and basketball. For many years he was a IHSAA official around central Indiana. As the boys got older, he attended all their sporting events. He loved to support his grandson Riley's sporting events from preschool into college.

He was an avid sports fan, having attended the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the 1987 and 2001 Final Four to watch his beloved Indiana Hoosiers. He also attended numerous Pacers, Reds, and Colts games.
 
In 1946, his father, Leo Stohler built race cars for the Little 500. This is when Dave developed his love of racing. He started attending numerous auto racing events across the country.

His love of racing changed to Standardbred racing in 1978, after the death of his father. Dave became a member of the United States Trotting Association in 1979. It was a trip to the county fair in Connersville, where he and his brother, Merrill became horse owners.

Mr. Stohler is survived by his loving spouse, Sheralyn (Pate) Stohler of Markleville; sons, Thad of Terre Haute, Trent of Markleville; grandson, Riley Stohler; sister, Virginia (Stohler) Bronnenberg; brother, Merrill (Sharon) Stohler; sister-in-law, Mary Jo Stohler, brother-in-law, Gary Pate. Many beloved nieces and nephews.
 
Memorial Contributions may be made to The Harness Horse Youth Foundation, 16575 Carey Road, Westfield, IN 46074, or New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, 3293 Wright Road, Laura, OH 45337.

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