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