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Ohio owner Dean Davis dies at age 82

September 27, 2016

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Well known Ohio owner-breeder Dean Davis of Wooster, Ohio, passed away at home, surrounded by family, early Tuesday, Sept. 27. He was 82 and had battled cancer for the past year.

Mr. Davis and his friend Jim Snyder became fixtures at Northfield Park, where Mr. Davis was inducted into the track's Hall of Fame. He was also presented the Dr. John D. Stevens Humanitarian Award from the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association. He was also a supporter of racing at the Delaware County Fair.
Mr. Davis owned horses both solely and in partnership, with Kurt Sugg, Mark Ford, Rodney Bolon and Dee Hotton training for him over the years.

While Mr. Davis won his biggest purse with the pacer Royal Art, who he and Snyder bought at Harrisburg and then won the James B. Dancer Memorial with just days later, Mr. Davis loved following his successful trotters Dunkster 1:53.3 ($894,320), a winner of 89 races, and Blastaway Sahbra 4, 1:54.3h ($782,014), a winner of 71 races. Both horses were primarily trained by Sugg.

The trotting filly Lisa Mac, an Ohio Sires Stakes winner, was Mr. Davis's first $100,000 winner. He also campaigned the pacing mare Gramma Gordie p,4, 1:53.1 ($224,506); Casino Miss, who was stakes placed in the Adioo Volo; Call Toll Free, who he owned when the horse started in the Kentucky Futurity; and in more recent years Ohio Sires Stakes winners Bell Flower and Nobles Finesse.

Mr. Davis never missed the Grand Circuit week of racing in Delaware, Ohio, sitting in his box in the grandstand. He made a few trips to the winner's circle in Delaware, most recently last year when Nobles Finesse, who he co-owned, won an Ohio Breeders Championship. In 2014, Mr. Davis' homebred filly Shell Bell, who is out of Gramma Gordie, finished fifth in the Jugette.

Mr. Davis was born in Wayne County on July 6, 1934, to Wesley and Thelma Swart Davis. He married Martha Gordon on March 13, 1955. Following his graduation from Shreve High School on 1952, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1956-1957. After his discharge from the Navy he began his farming career at Logil Farm in Wooster. He then worked at Miller Supply before starting his own businesses Davis Frac Tank and Green Gas Co. He also started Starmark Farm along with his family.

In addition to his love of harness racing, Mr. Davis loved watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren play sports. He was a supporter and fan of all Wayne County Sports. He loved the College of Wooster basketball and softball and a huge Ohio State Buckeyes football fan. He was a member of the Ohio Holstein Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association and Zion Lutheran Church.

In addition to his wife Martha, Mr. Davis is survived by three children. John (Beth), Scott (Diane) Davis and Nancy (Randy) Duncan. He has four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren Tom (Rachelle) Davis and their children Austin, Tyler, and Kaylee. Tim (Lisa) Davis and their children Elijah, Christian and Liam. Amy (Chad) Wolf and their children Keenan, Lucas, Delaney and Cooper. Also, Matt (Carlee) Duncan; step-grandchildren children Michelle (Todd) Thompson and their children Tyler and Chellsie (Nathan) and Carter. Mandy Harold and her daughter Carissa; four sisters, Gail (Donnie) Riggenbach, Treva (Stan) Becker, Bonnie Slicker and Marilyn Hoffer; and a brother-in-law, Bill (Mary) Gordon.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Sept. 30, at 11 a.m. at the Zion Lutheran Church, 301 N. Market St., Wooster, with the Rev. Ann Paynter officiating. A private family burial will be held. Friends will be received following the memorial service.

McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers; donations can be made to Life Care Hospice or Zion Luthern Church in Wooster. Online condolences may be left for the family at http://www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com/.

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