Longtime Delaware horseman Pleasant Batson Jr. dies
September 07, 2020
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Pleasant Batson Jr., 84, of Greenwood, Del., passed away on Sept. 1 with family by his side.
He was born in Wilmington, N.C. on June 17, 1936, and after graduating from high school began a 65-year career owning, training, and driving Standardbred harness horses and running Batson’s Harness Shop which he opened in 1958.
It is believed to be the longest solely owned continuously operating harness shop in the country. He offered horse equipment, supplies, and for many years specialized in making custom leather handstitched items for harness and show horses. He also used his leather working abilities to help people with hard to fit prosthetic limbs with his most notable client being Baseball Hall of Famer, Bill Veeck, for whom he designed a custom strap to hold his wooden peg in place.
People always remarked that he was aptly named “Pleasant” because of his kind and likeable way. He had a quick smile and was good at telling funny stories. When he received the 2019 Special Appreciation Award from the Delaware Standardbred Owners Assoc. (DSOA) in January this year, the emcee summed it up perfectly by introducing him as an “all around wonderful and much loved friend in the harness racing industry.” He was a long-time member of the DSOA and prior to his illness faithfully attended church where he served as the front door greeter.
He was predeceased by his parents, Eloise and Pleasant Batson, Sr.; three sisters, Frances Newton, Jeannie Horne, and Joann Murphy; and his wife of 53 years, Dolores M. Batson. He is survived by his second wife, Nancy J. Batson; a daughter Rebecca B. Kidner (C. Scott Kidner); three grandsons, Jack, Jeffrey and Grant Kidner; and many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A viewing will be held Thursday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. at Andrews Mortuary – Valley Chapel with a graveside service immediately following at Oleander Memorial Gardens, both in Wilmington, N.C. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to the horse rescue and adoption non-profit, Horse Lovers United, Inc., P.O. Box 2744, Salisbury, MD 21802. For online condolences visit: torbertfuneral.com