NEAR HOF member Maynard Troyer passes

Automobile racing in the Northeast lost a giant on Thursday, May 10, when Maynard Troyer died after a long illness. He was 79.
​Troyer rose to prominence in the 1960s, the perfect era for his creative mind to exploit the loose rulebooks of the day. Endlessly tinkering with innovative cars that looked nothing like those of his competition, he soon became a fan favorite. By the dawn of the ’70s, Troyer had established himself as one of Modified racing’s premier drivers, securing track championships at Lancaster Speedway (where he would ultimately capture four titles), Spencer Speedway (where he won more feature races than any other driver), and Fulton Speedway. He was also crowned champion of the All Star League in 1970, at the absolute zenith of that region-wide, multi-track series.
​As the decade progressed, Maynard and his poppy red #6 cars – owned and sponsored by Ford dealer Dave Nagle – began to regularly venture beyond his home state. Truth be told, few drivers stomped up and down the East Coast with the authority Troyer displayed. He won from Cayuga Speedway in Canada’s Ontario province to Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, and at numerous points between. Among the tracks he conquered were high-profile venues like the Richmond International Speedway in Virginia, New Jersey’s Trenton Fairgrounds Speedway (the 1976 Race of Champions), Pennsylvania’s Pocono International Raceway (the ’77 edition of the ROC), the Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut (three straight Spring Sizzlers, 1977-79), and the Oswego Speedway in his native New York (both the Budweiser 200 and Port City 150).
​If his legacy as a driver was enormous, his impact as a car builder was incalculable. In the first half of the ’70s, rival team owners lined up to purchase the equipment Maynard had raced the previous season. But after his 1977 split with Nagle, Troyer attacked car building in earnest, hanging out his shingle under the name Troyer Engineering.
The company’s initial focus was the asphalt Modified market he knew best, and Maynard was his own best marketing tool. In 1978, Troyer and his house car – a gleaming white Pinto with a highly offset chassis – had a blistering campaign, winning a NEARA series crown and scoring 36 victories in 54 starts. It was one of the most productive seasons any Northeast driver has ever put together. In no time at all, Troyer found dozens of customers in New York, New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and his products won major races and track championships in the hands of pavement superstars like Ron Bouchard, Greg Sacks, Bugs Stevens, George Kent, and, of course, Maynard himself.
​In 1981, Troyer jumped into the dirt-track world. Rather than dipping the proverbial toe in the water, he cleared the pool with the cannonball splash of the Mud Buss, his take on a dirt Modified. Instantly a winner with development driver Alan Johnson, Troyer’s dirt machines were soon in the hands of legends like Will Cagle, Merv Treichler, and Jack Johnson, and their success only increased demand for the cars. Checkered flags waved over those early Mud Busses at tracks in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and in Canada.
​His success as a manufacturer played a large role in Troyer’s decision to call time on his driving career. In the autumn of 1982, on the cusp of his 44th birthday, Maynard pulled off his helmet and gloves for the final time, closing an epic chapter in the sport.
​In the years that followed, he became the region’s preeminent builder of race cars, hands down. Troyer watched his creations win multiple championships on the NASCAR Modified Tour, in the Super DIRT Series, and on every other Modified circuit of consequence. It was a hectic period for Maynard, and as the ’80s closed he began the process of stepping back to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Longtime employee Billy Colton – who had been a winning Troyer chassis customer – became managing partner of the Rochester business in 1989, and later the sole owner of what is now Troyer Race Cars. Meanwhile, Maynard kicked back and fiddled with hot rods, boats, and the other toys one would expect a mechanical wizard like him to appreciate.
​Though widely considered a New Yorker – particularly by his legion of fans in the Empire State – Troyer was actually born in Ohio, and spent his early adulthood in Florida. But once he came north and turned his attention to going fast, he belonged to racing more than to any given point on the map. Maynard Troyer’s real home was Victory Lane.

Courtesy of  Troyer Race Cars,  Bones Bourcier

Photo by Howie Hodge

Harold C. Hanaford

 
 
 

Harold C. “”Hard Luck”” Hanaford, 89, died at his home with his family by his side on March 17, 2018. Born in Plymouth on March 2, 1929, he was the son of George and Eva A. (Brooks) Murphy. Harold was raised in Lower Intervale by Frank and Maude Hanaford. He attended the one-room school in Lower Intervale and graduated from Plymouth High School.

Harold served his country in the U.S. Army in Korea. After serving his country, Harold returned home and went to work as a mechanic and later on owned his own excavation business. He was member of the American Legion Post No. 26 in Bristol and the Northeastern Speedway in Vermont.

Harold was an avid stock car racer. He raced during the winter at the Plymouth Fairgrounds; he also raced his flathead coup at short-tracks all over New Hampshire and Vermont. He won the Thunder Road Track Championship in 1964; he raced in Daytona in 1966; and was inducted into the New England Antique Racers hall of fame in 2009.

Harold is survived by his wife Florence (McLoud) Hanaford of Bridgewater; his daughter Lynn Comeau; sons Brian Hanaford, and Robert Hanaford; his grandchildren Samuel Harold Comeau, Sabrena Florence McPhail, and Chelsie Burland; great-grandchildren David Comeau, Stacy Comeau, Nicholas Comeau, and Jamie Comeau; his sisters Pearl O’Brien of Meredith, Edna Bowley of North Haverhill; and his brother Calvin Batchalder of Alton. He was predeceased by his sister Jule Gurall, and his brother George Murphy.

Services will be at the convenience of the family. Donations may be made to the , or the Newfound Area Nursing Association, 214 Lake Street, Bristol, NH 03222. Dupuis Funeral Home in Ashland is assisting the family. For more information, go to dupuisfuneralhome.com

Rachel Seller passes

Our deepest condolences to the Seller/Blanchette family on the passing of Rachel Seller, wife of the late Bob Seller, mother of Rod Seller and Rhonda Blanchette, and Grandmother to Megan Blanchette – all well respected long-time past officers and members of NEAR.

 

 

Rachel M. (Goetchius) Seller

 
SOUTHINGTON – Rachel M. (Goetchius) Seller, 88, of Meriden and formerly of Southington, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at HOCC of New Britain. She had been the loving wife of the late Robert J. Seller for 62 years.
Born in Quincy, Mass., on Jan. 12, 1930 to the late Kenneth and Pauline (Plummer) Goetchius, she had been a longtime Southington resident. Rachel graduated from North Quincy High School and went on to enroll as one of the first women at MIT, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering. Rachel moved to Southington in 1954 after marrying her childhood sweetheart, Bob. She established her own residential home design business so she could work at home while raising her children. Rachel loved auto racing, singing in the chorus and playing bingo. She also played the piano and the organ. Rachel is survived by her daughter, Rhonda Blanchette and her husband, Gerry, of Plantsville; her son, Rodney J. Seller and his wife, Kristin, of New Britain; and three grandchildren, Amanda Seller, of Hebron, Robert Blanchette and his longtime girlfriend, Jenn, of Panama City Beach, Fla., and Megan Blanchette, of Plantsville; and several nieces and nephews. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Rachel’s memory may be made to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, 103 Vision Way, Bloomfield, CT 06002 or at https://www.fidelco.org/. 

Rachel’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the entire staff at the Village at Kensington Place for the exceptional care and compassion they showed her for the last 6 years. 

Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, March 20, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Plantsville Funeral Home, 975 S. Main St., Plantsville. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 21, at the Plantsville Funeral Home, with an hour of visitation prior to the service from 9 to 10 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will follow in South End Cemetery, Southington. For online condolences and directions, please visit www.plantsvillefuneralhome.com. 

Funeral Home

Plantsville Funeral Home
975 South Main Street
Plantsville, CT 06479
(860) 621-4656

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Ted “TC” Christopher Tribute/ Services


Tribute from Bailey Funeral Home Website

 

“First tap is telling you I’m here. Second tap is telling you to pick a lane. Third tap, I’m picking the lane for you.”

Ted “TC” “The King” Christopher #13

NASCAR driver, business owner and beloved husband, son, brother, uncle and friend, Theodore “Ted” “TC” Christopher, died following a tragic airplane crash in Guilford Saturday.

The celebrated 59-year-old driver, a Plainville native who recently moved to Southington, left behind both a legend and a legacy. His life was full of energy, swagger, intelligence, generosity and kindness that together contributed to the essence of a man whose greatness went far beyond the race track.

In 2001 Christopher won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title and in 2008 the NASCAR Whelan Modified Tour Crown. With 13 combined championships, he was the winningest driver at both Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Christopher, whose “Three Tap” rule reflected his aggressive, signature racing style, was named one of the top 25 drivers in NASCAR’s weekly series in 2006, when the series celebrated its 25th anniversary. In 2008, Stafford named a section of its grandstand in his honor. Despite his age, Christopher had not lost any of his edge. So far this season he had racked up six wins at Stafford with his most recent just two weeks ago.

A fan favorite whose ability was respected by his racing peers, Christopher won hundreds of awards and accolades throughout his racing career. And while most knew him because of his racing celebrity, his biggest successes in life went far beyond the tracks he raced on.

A well-regarded and hard-working businessman who owned M & T Enterprises in Plainville, Christopher’s roots in his community ran deep. A 1976 graduate of Plainville High School, he was a sports enthusiast who was captain of his high school wrestling team. In 2013 he was inducted into the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame. He rooted for any football team that was winning, especially if the team was beating his wife’s Dallas Cowboys, but could care less about the Red Sox or the Yankees. He was an avid reader, loved rock and roll music, was a classic car collector and a guy who couldn’t imagine life without his German shepherds, including puppy Maverick.  His friendships with his gang of longtime friends were precious, respected and far reaching. An accomplished cook, he never missed the Wednesday night Outback dinners “with the boys”  followed by Pralines ice cream on his way home. Morning oatmeal from scratch with a side of “Let’s Make A Deal” was a must. 

He was generous to his community, sponsoring many children’s recreational activities and quietly contributing to non-profit efforts because he wanted to help. As a son and sibling, he was devoted. As an uncle, he loved knowing that the party never really began for delighted nieces and nephews until a boisterous, grinning and mischief-making “Uncle Teddy” arrived.

Nothing in his life however, was more important than his wife, Quinn Wazorko Christopher, and the treasured life and home they had built together.  It reflected an unshakeable bond of love and trust and teamwork that he valued much more than his rooms full of trophies.

Christopher was a true man of merit, one who lived every day of his life to the fullest and whose life ended too soon.  He will be missed more than words can explain.

Besides his wife he leaves  his mother Lucy (Graziano) Christopher; his twin brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Jen Christopher of Wolcott; his sister and brother-in-law Joe and  Judy Christopher Mannix of Longmeadow; his mother-in-law MaryEllen Fillo Wazorko of Southington and Delray Beach, Fl ; his brothers-and sisters-in-law, Christopher and Raegan Wazorko and Justin and Tabitha Manafort, all of Plainville;  his nephews and nieces, Michael and Nicole Christopher, George and Jacob  Mannix, Olivia, Lillian and Amelia Wazorko , and Samantha, Justin, and Tommi Manafort. He also leaves many aunts, uncles, cousins and treasured friends who shared his love of life both on and off the racetrack and dearly treasured him. He was pre-deceased by his beloved father, William Christopher.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Matthew Church, 120 Church St., Forestville. Friends are asked to meet directly at church. Calling hours will be held Monday from 3 to 8 p.m. at Bailey’s Funeral Home, 48 Broad St Plainville .There will also be a race program memorial at Stafford Speedway in Stafford Springs on Oct. 1 where his #13 car number will be retired.

It is said “The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.” His life was one of love, sass, compassion, honesty and adventure. His legacy is all that and much more.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Ted Christopher Memorial Fund, care of Farmington Bank, 117 East Street Plainville Ct 06062 Attn. Bree Pirog. To leave a condolence go to www.bailey-funeralhome.com

 

 

 


Charitable donations may be made to:

Ted Christopher Memorial Fund
117 East Street, Plainville CT 06062


 

 

Loss of a Legend

All of us at NEAR  wish to express our deepest sympathy to the family, friends, and fans of Modified legend Ted Christopher. The racing community has lost it’s most vibrant personality, and mentor to many.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Quinn, Michael, and the family. 
Rest In Peace Ted , you were the one everyone wanted to beat, because you were the best. Godspeed.

 

Tom Curley, NEAR Hall of Famer, Northeast Racing Pioneer, passes at 73

 

 

Longtime Thunder Road Speedbowl co-owner and promoter Tom Curley died  last Friday following complications from a lengthy illness. He was 73 years old.

A pioneer for his sport of auto racing, Curley was involved in local and regional competition for most of his adult life. After spending considerable time at Thunder Road as a spectator and driver in the 1960s, he became the NASCAR Northeast regional director in 1978, and a year later created the NASCAR North Tour. He and Thunder Road founder Ken Squier then acquired the track in 1982 from former owner Tommy Kalomiris, a news release from ACT stated.

Though his health had declined in recent years, Curley continued to be a presence at Thunder Road. He and Squier had recently completed the sale of the track prior to his passing. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

After leaving NASCAR, Curley created the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) sanctioning body in 1986. Under Curley’s leadership, Thunder Road and ACT became household names for racers and fans throughout the Northeast, making the Barre high banks one of the most popular auto racing destinations in the region. Among his many accomplishments, he helped relaunch the famed Flying Tiger division that has competed since 1982, and created the ACT Late Model rules package used at Thunder Road and numerous other tracks.

Racing Promotion Monthly named Curley the North American Promoter of the Year in 2004. He also received the Lowes Motor Speedway National Short Track Promoter of the Year Award in 2003 and the Trackside Magazine Promoter of the Year Award in 1992. Curley was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2009. Thoughts  from  the entire NEAR  community are with Tom’s family.

 Obituary courtesy of the Burlington Free Press

NEAR HALL OF FAMER/ NESMRA CO-Founder Ken Smith Passes

KENDALL CRAIG SMITH

(February 16, 1939-February 11, 2017)

Kendall embodied the essence of these inspirational words; “A Winner Never Quits and a Quitter Never Wins …” one of his cherished quotes. He used them often to motivate anyone that needed encouragement. In fact, many of Mr. Smith’s quotes are embedded in this tribute fallowing his passing caused by respiratory disease.

Born in Haverhill, MA, February 16, 1939, the only son of the late Clifton and Gertrude Smith, he was predeceased by his younger sister Susan Craig (Smith) Silva (1998). Raised in Groveland, MA, by his single mother, Ken had to quickly learn the importance of hard work at an early age, to help provide for his mother and sister. This set the stage for a life of determination, perseverance and generosity; and he never quit. It was this winning and encouraging spirit that touched so many lives. Mr. Smith and his family resided in Kingston, NH for the past forty years.

Family Ties

Kendall met his wife, Evelyn Mae (Ralph) Smith, as they both graduated in 1956 from Georgetown’s Perley High School. In October of 2016, they were married for 55 years. Together, they have two children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. Family members are; daughter, Kimberly Craig (Smith) of Chagrin Falls Ohio and son, Craig William Smith and wife, Mary-Teresa (Johnson) Smith of Roswell, Georgia. Grandchildren are; Tyler Craig Shea of Kingston, NH, Colby Amelia Shea of Charleston, SC, Logan Oliver Shea of Chagrin Falls, OH, Kyle William Smith of Athens, GA and Austin Craig Smith of Roswell, GA. Mr. Smith had one great granddaughter, Kendall Rye Cunnington, of Charleston, SC, as well as two-goddaughters, Julie (Holbrook) Lichtman of Windham, NH and Sarah (Ralph) Stockbridge of Groveland, MA.

“Work Hard…Don’t Give Up”

After earning an Associate’s Degree in 1958 from Bentley School of Accounting in Boston. Mr. Smith began his 52-year banking career at the former Merrimack Valley National Bank, in Andover, MA. Starting in the basement floor, processing checks by hand in the Proof Department, his hard work ethic didn’t let him down as he rose through the ranks. When the bank became Bay Bank Merrimack Valley, Mr. Smith was appointed Vice President until 1982, when he was hired by Granite State Bank in Somersworth, NH, as its Vice President. On March 5, 1984, Mr. Smith was hired as Executive Vice President of the Pentucket Bank in Haverhill, MA, where he would work for the next 26 years. He was brought to the bank by then-President Ed Cote, who started his career on the very same day with Ken in 1958.

Mr. Smith went on to become the President of Pentucket Bank, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Board of Investment. Under his leadership, Pentucket Bank grew to become Greater Haverhill’s leading financial institution, owning the largest market share in the region. Pentucket Bank continuously earned a 5-Star superior rating from Bauer-Financial, Inc., the nation’s independent banking research firm. Mr. Smith retired as President and Chief Executive Officer in June of 2010. He continued serving as Chairman of the Board, Trustee, Corporator and Advisor.

Charity Champion

One of Ken’s favorite quotes was this; “Some people think it’s nice to be important, but I think it’s important to be nice.”

Kindness, loyalty and generosity were the very fiber of Ken’s character, which started at a young age. Mr. Smith’s volunteer time and charitable contributions benefitted numerous charities throughout the Greater Haverhill Community.

His many honors and awards recognized selfless acts serving the needs of people from various ages and all walks of life. Kendall, and his wife, voluntarily served as the Sanborn Regional School Treasurer for over 25 years (1969-1994). In 1999, he was chosen Salvation Army’s, ‘Man of the Year.’ The following year, Mr. Smith was honored with the American Red Cross ‘McCallum Humanitarian Award’ given to individuals whose efforts make our community a better place to live and work. Ken lived by The Boy Scout Motto: Be prepared; Do your duty; and Do a good turn daily. Perhaps this helped him earn the Boy Scouts of America, “Distinguished Citizen Award” in 2002.

During 2003-2004, Mr. Smith was the Haverhill Rotary President, under which he led a fundraising drive to build a stone sign for Winnekenni Castle. For these efforts, he earned the “Paul Harris Fellow Award” presented by The Rotary Club to a member who has contributed selflessly for the betterment of their community. In 2005, The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce presented Mr. Smith with the “Business Person of the Year” award.

Along with Pentucket Bank, Kendall was a yearly participant and financiaJ donor to Haverhill’s annual VFW Santa Parade as well as an on-site participant in the Haverhill Gazette Santa Fund ‘Hole-In-One’ event. Mr. Smith was on the Board of the Veterans North East Outreach of Haverhill, MA. He was awarded the Liberty Bell Plaque in 2010, annually given by Haverhill’ s Bar Association to a “non-lawyer in recognition for service to the community.” He was a member of the NECCO Foundation Board and participated in the Mayor’s Breakfast. He was an Advisory Board Member of the Greater Haverhill Foundation, Inc. and contributing member of the Groveland Historical Society. Mr. Smith made numerous radio appearances over WHAV on the “Open Mike Show” with Tim Coco, discussing racing, banking and history of his beloved Greater Haverhill.

When Nothing Goes Right…Go Left

A lifelong passion for auto racing eventually landed Ken in the New England Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. He devoted much of his life to racing. Starting once again from the bottom up, he sold popcorn and programs at The Pines Speedway. He was a soap box derby champion in Groveland and even drove cars in the woods behind his house. He had a brief race driving career and wrote his own racing column for The Haverhill Gazette.

It was in these early years where Ken became a devoted fan of the late racing legend Ollie Silva, also a racing Hall-of-Famer. He developed a friendship with Silva and was best man when Silva married Ken’s sister, Susan, in 1972.

Ken’s zest for racing led him to join dear friend and colleague, Russ Conway, of Haverhill, MA, as well as the late Charlie Elliott. Together with car-owners and drivers, they formed the New England Super-Modified Racing Association (NESMRA) in 1965. Ken was its only General Manager and guided the group to become a highly recognized racing organization. The group traveled from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Hialeah, FL, operating over 1,000 racing events and over 10,000 actual races between 1965-1999. Over the years, NESMRA paid out more than $6 million in prize money.

Cars with Flames go Faster than Cars Without

Among the “Home” speedways that Ken and NESMRA operated were; Star Speedway, Epping, NH; Lee Raceway, Lee, NH; Hudson Speedway, Hudson, NH, Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH, and Canaan Fairgrounds Speedway, Canaan, NH. Along the way, his wife and kids would support him whether it be selling in the ticket booth, or taking tickets at the gate. Eventually, Ken managed to turn a few of his
grandchildren onto to the sport as well. NESMRA operated numerous car shows as well as snowmobile races, concerts and boxing events. Mr. Smith was co-founder of the Florida Winter National Series, Yankee All-Star League for Modifieds, the Canadian Super-Modified Tour. In 1970, NESMRA reorganized the annual “World Series of Speedway Racing” with Thompson Speedway owner, Don Hoenig.

Each year, Ken was a highly passionate, active organizer and donor to the annual Pines Speedway Reunion in Groveland, MA. He participated as a Selection Committee Member and this past October was elected as an Honoree himself. Ken was a long-time member of the New England Auto Racers Inc., and the Senior Tour Auto Racers.

Mr. Smith was a founding member, major contributor, Treasurer and Executive Board Member of the North East Motorsports Museum, a new 10,000-square foot home for historical race cars, memorabilia and decades of racing history. The building is located at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in Loudon, NH. Opening ceremonies for this special museum will be in June, 2017.

A Fun Way of Life

“That’s the trouble with the world, too many people grow up…” -Walt Disney’s line was another Ken favorite. Mr. Smith adored children. He was never shy to tell an animated story that he would make up on the spot. Children would gather around and be mesmerized by his voices and tales that often included their names.

A well known love of Ken’s was the magic of Mickey Mouse and Disney. Arriving with his wife and children at Walt Disney World the first year it opened in 1972, Ken was fascinated with that wonderment started by just a mouse, a dream and an imagination. From that time forward, Ken had an affection and passion for anything Disney.

Visiting Disney World numerous times over the years with his wife and family, wearing Mickey Mouse lapel pins on his business suits on a daily basis. He purchased two six-foot stuffed Mickey and Minnie Mouse figures that sat in his Pentucket Bank President’s office. He would be seen wearing oversized white gloves with three fingers, just like Mickey. While participating in many local parades, Ken would decorate his 1974 Corvette, pump up the music and wear a Mickey Mouse costume while his teen-aged children, their friends, other family, bank or racing helpers volunteered to wear many other Disney costumes.

Keep Learning and Practice

Mr. Smith believed education opened the doors to people of all backgrounds. He considered the key to success was education and placed a high value on it. Mr. Smith often said that if he did not pursue a career in banking, he would have liked to have been a teacher. In fact, his mother, sister and daughter all worked for school systems in Greater Haverhill. Mr. Smith frequently invited the school children of Haverhill to take field trips to Pentucket Bank to learn the importance about money and savings. He often treated classes to lunch after touring the famous Pentucket Bank Vault. In April 2006, The Haverhill Foundation for Excellence in Education held, ” An Evening to Roast and Toast Ken Smith,” as a fundraiser, with 300 people in attendance.

Respect, Responsibility, Reliability

Family time often included sound advice to the youngest of ears that were listening to Ken. He never missed an opportunity to instill a value to his children, grandchildren or any young face that was listening.

For 51 years, Ken and Evelyn took their family to their annual beach retreat at Jenness Beach, Rye, NH. Ken was affectionately known as the Mayor of Jenness Beach, where he sat atop his ocean-front perch. Friends and beach-goers would find a smiling pal with quick wit and humor. He would share his many stories, quotes, jokes, lessons learned, business facts, racing statistics, open-minded knowledge, opinion and lectures. He treated everyone he met fairly, with respect and with an open mind. He believed, no matter how educated, talented, wealthy or cool you were, how you treat people tells everything about your integrity.

Do Great Things …But Stay Humble

Mr. Smith was a proud man. Proud of his devoted family, his dedicated employees of the Pentucket Bank, his loyal racing peers and fans, his charitable colleagues and faithful friends. Whether he was making good turns daily on the track of life or making left-hand turns on the race track, Kendall personified a larger than life, magnetic character to all that knew, admired, loved and adored him.

Memorial Services: Calling Hours, Tuesday, June 6, 2017 between 2-4pm and 5-Bpm at the Paul C. Rogers Family Funeral Home, 334 Main St., Haverhill, MA.

A Celebration of Life will be held Wednesday, June 7, 2017 between 4-8 pm at DiBurro’s Function Facility in Ward Hill, MA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mr. Smith’s honor, may be made to the following:

*Emmaus House Inc.- Attn: Gretchen Arntz, P.O. Box 568, Haverhill, MA 01831

*Kendall Craig Smith Scholarship Fund- Attn: Tracy Parker, Haverhill High School, 137 Monument St., Haverhill, MA 01832

*The North East Motorsports Museum- Attn: NEMSM, 7 Bayview Rd., Ipswich, MA 01938

*The Northern Essex Community College Foundation- Attn: Jean Poth, 100 Elliott St., Haverhill, MA 01830

*The Pines Speedway Reunion- Attn: Claire Walsh, PO Box 178, Groveland, MA 01834

*Rotary Club of Haverhill- Attn: Bill Kleuber, P.O. Box 808, Haverhill, MA 01831

Horace “Mert” Adams Passes at Age 87

The New England Antique Racers (NEAR) would like to send its heartfelt sympathy to Rich Goucher, NEAR Board of Directors member and recipient of the 2016 Charlie Stebbins Award, and his entire family on the passing of his father-in-law, Horace “Mert” Adams. The following is Mr. Adams obituary posted on Rich’s Facebook page:

Horace “Mert” Adams, 87, passed into his eternal life in Heaven, surrounded by his loving family, on Monday, March 27, 2017, after a short illness.

A lifelong Southington resident, Mert was born on October 6, 1929, one of five children to the late Leslie and Evelyn (Sylvia) Adams.

Horace proudly served alongside both of his brothers in the U.S. Army during the post World War II military reconstruction mission, Occupation Germany. During that hitch, he was a member of the Heavy Mortar Company, 43rd Division, 3rd Platoon. After the war, he was a member of the National Guard, and American Legion, Post 72.

Upon his return home, Mert gave 42 loyal years to the Beaton & Corbin Manufacturing Company until its closure. He continued his career at the Pegasus Manufacturing Company in Hamden, CT until his retirement. Horace also was an accomplished horticulturist in his spare time. His hard work produced a giant garden for many years, from which he shared his harvest abundantly. Mert also adopted many stray cats and dogs throughout the years, and could be found many Saturday afternoons on his beloved basement couch sharing a nap with one or more of them.

Horace leaves behind his adoring wife, Barbara (Ridzik) Adams, to whom he was married for 61 years; his sister, Mary Derynioski and his brother, John Adams and his wife, Diane. He also leaves his pride and joy, his daughters, Lisa Wallace and her husband, Ted, and Lori Goucher and her husband, Rich. A special place in his heart was reserved for his grandchildren, Erica, Rachel, and Sarah Wallace, and Gary and Timothy Goucher. He will also be missed by many beloved nieces and nephews, including his special nieces, Suzanne DeMerchant and Nancy Mathews. Horace was predeceased by his sister, Marjorie and his brother, Leslie Adams.

Mert’s love for animals may be remembered with contributions to the:
          Connecticut Humane Society
          701 Russell Rd
          Newington, CT 06111

Funeral services in celebration of Mert’s life will be held on Saturday, April 1st, at 10 am at:
          First Baptist Church
          581 Meriden Avenue
          Southington, CT

Interment with military honors will follow at South End Cemetery. Family and friends may gather on Friday evening, from 4-7 p.m. at Plantsville Funeral Home, 975 S. Main St, Plantsville.

For online expressions of sympathy, please visit www.plantsvillefuneralhome.com

NEAR Hall of Famer Leo Cleary Passes : Memorial 3/3/17 in Ma.

Courtesy of Nick Teto(Yankee Racer.com)

Word arrived from Florida that 1999 New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee Leo Cleary has passed away at age-88.

Upon hearing of the news, award-winning Hall of Fame auto racing journalist Pete Zanardi stated the following; “Leo, from Massachusetts, was truly one of New England’s short track pioneers with a career stretching all the way back to the days of early tracks such as Dracut, Groveland, Topsfield, West Peabody, Medford Bowl, Norwood Arena, and Westboro. He raced and won all over the region, and was always in high-demand with the best teams. His era included some of the greatest names in the history of modified racing.”

Arrangements are incomplete at this time. The entire NEAR family extends its sincere condolences to Leo’s family & many friends.

Below is an excerpt from his New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Biography. Accompanying photos are courtesy of the Dave Dykes’ Racing Through Time website.

Ask most retired drivers what tracks they raced at, and you might get the name of one, two or maybe a half dozen tracks. Ask Leo “The Lion” Cleary and you had better have some time to listen. Leo competed at the Medford Bowl, Lonsdale, Norwood, Catamount, and Westboro. Among active tracks, he raced at Thompson, Seekonk, Stafford, Martinsville, Oswego, Waterford, and New Smyrna, along with several others.

In his 44 years behind the wheel, Cleary took down 14 track championships, including the Norwood Arena, Seekonk, and Thompson. These championships have come behind the wheel of jalopies, cutdowns, full coupes, modifieds, pro-stocks, and mini modifieds.

At age 58, when most people are busy planning their retirement, Cleary was busy planning his season at Seekonk, where he took down the 1986 pro stock championship. The next year, the 59-year-old Cleary switched to mini modifieds, again winning the Seekonk Championship. When Aetna Insurance transferred Cleary to Florida in 1988, most people, including Leo himself, figured that was the end of his racing. That’s when Vic Kangus convinced him to hop into his Florida modified, which he drove until 1993, when, at age 63, he suffered four broken ribs, and hung up his helmet for good.

Leo Cleary’s career spanned six decades. He has progressed from the early stock jalopies to the modern mini mods, pro stocks, and modifieds.

From Louis Modestino:

Just got the word from Ed Gendreau about the Leo Cleary Memorial that will be held at the McGoun-Biggins Funeral Home on 135 Union St. in Rockland, MA 02370 next Friday, March 3 from 5-8 pm. Expect to see a lot racing folks turn out for this memorial because Leo had a lot of fans and friends.

Sources: Dave Dykes/NEAR PR

Warren W. Bullock, Obituary

Warren W. Bullock, Beloved Father of NEAR 2016 Champion Angie Bullock, Passes at Age 73.

We are saddened to announce the passing of the father of NEAR member Angie Bullock on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Mr. Bullock on Sunday, October 23rd, 11am – 2pm at the M.R. Laurin & Son Funeral Home, 295 Pawtucket Street, Lowell, MA. A Prayer Service will conclude the visitation at 2pm; Interment will be private. For full obituary please visit www.laurinfuneralhome.com

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.

Please send your thoughts and prayers her way.

By Jim Williams