John Stygar, Famed Modified car owner, passes

Story courtesy of Marc “Bones” Bourcier

 

 

 

 

 

This morning brought the sad news that John Stygar has passed away. John never sought the limelight; hell, he usually HID from it. In this victory photo of Steady Eddie Flemke accepting a trophy at Fredericksburg, VA, in 1961, at the very dawn of the Eastern Bandits era, that’s John at the far right. He’s behind the trophy presenter, waiting for the hoopla to end so he can load up and hit the highway again. I’ve always maintained that the whole “Eastern Bandits” era may not have happened without John. After all, Eddie need a car owner adventurous enough to agree to haul his “dollar sign” coupe up and down the coast in the early 1960s. They won just about everywhere they went, dragging Denny Zimmerman, Rene Charland, Red Foote and others into the action. Later, in the red-hot small-block era of the mid-‘70s, Eddie won often in John’s #7 Pinto, scoring at Thompson, Waterford, Plainville, and no doubt a couple of other joints. Bugs Stevens, Gene Bergin, Denis Giroux, Denny Zimmerman, Fats Caruso, and Smokey Boutwell also steered John’s cars.  John’s place in Modified history is assured. The sport was built upon sturdy bricks like John. — Bones

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John R. Stygar (81, born March 7, 1938) passed away peacefully on Friday, January 3, 2019 at St. Francis Hospital. John lived a long and wonderful life. He is survived by his sisters, Marion Howard and Joan Winslow, both of Bolton; his brother-in-law Jim Howard, also of Bolton; his niece Deborah Howard of Maine; and two nephews, James Howard of Manchester, and Craig Winslow of Southbury. Born in CT, John attended St. James Elementary School and graduated from Manchester High School. He was a lifelong resident of Bolton, CT. John was self-employed, owning and operating Manchester Sweeping and Stygar Snowplowing. John was an ardent auto racing enthusiast. He owned a race car and as part of a team, he enjoyed much success at tracks throughout the Northeast. One of his greatest joys was restoring a 1955 Chevy. John was known as a kind and compassionate man who would help anyone who asked. John was an avid collector; we will always remember John saying to us, “Ya never know when you’re going to need it.” He was also an organ donor. To celebrate John’s life, please join the family for calling hours on Sunday January 12th from 4-7 p.m. at the John F. Tierney Funeral Home, 219 West Center Street, Manchester. Funeral Services will be held on Monday, January 13th at 9:15 a.m. from the funeral home with a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 10:00 a.m. at St. James Church 896 Main St. Manchester, followed by burial in St. Joseph Cemetery, Willimantic. Donations may be made to Joe Niekro Foundation Brain Aneurysms, AVMs & Hemorrhagic Strokes GIVING at www.joeniekrofoundation.com/ways-to-give/general-donation/ A special thanks to the staff at St. Francis Hospital for all their care and attention to such a wonderful man. For online condolences, please visit www.tierneyfuneralhome.com
 

Published in The Hartford Courant on Jan. 9, 2020

2020 Annual Meeting Announcement: Confirmed for Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020

Important Notice to NEAR Members:

The Annual meeting initially planned for Sunday, Jan.12,2020 has been postponed. The recent loss of our beloved Treasurer, Newsletter, and Membership Chairman Val LeSieur has presented issues that cannot be resolved quickly. We are working to solve these issues and put new people in place.

 

Update Monday, 1/6/2020

The Annual Meeting re-schedule date is  confirmed for Sunday, Feb. 9,2020, at the Thompson, Ct. Speedway Clubhouse. 11:00 a.m. arrival/social hour, 12:00 lunch for 2020 paid members. Membership forms will be available/ accepted at the door, $25.00. All others $10.00 charge.

 There will be Elections of Officers at the meeting per By Laws changes from last year. I will be running once again for President, and the rest of our officers, as well. Officers will be elected by a simple majority of votes by those present at the meeting.

Anyone interested in filling a position on the Board of Directors or Advisors, contact Rich at (860)209-7343 or rgoucher@comcast.net. Please do so by  Friday, Jan. 31st, 2020 to allow time to put your name on the ballot for the meeting. Thank you.

Racing Family needs your help!

Alan Piquette

I’ve been posting on here about needing a kidney, my numbers are dropping and I’m down to 12% usage of my kidneys. Talking with different doctors they all have their options on things but bottom line they all agree on one thing, I need a kidney sooner than later. One doctor even said that he doesn’t even think I would make it if I have to wait on the transplant list, he feels time is running out, and the way I’m feeling I have to agree. Then today I was flipping through channels and you hear about “Christmas Miracles” that miracles do come true, to be honest, that’s what I’m going to need a miracle, with having 0-Negative blood type, my chances drop even farther down the list and the miracle seems unreachable. If I can get this message sent around and happen to find that one person, again that ONE person that sees this to come forward, not only will they be saving a life (mine) but they will take part in a miracle because this is what it’s turning into, a miracle. Please like and share this as I only need that one special person to step forward and save a life. Please if anybody has any questions please inbox me here and I will answer any questions that you may have. I was told that Christmas time a lot of miracles are answered, let’s share this and hope this miracle can happen.

Please like and share…Help me spread the word on Facebook and social media…

NEAR HOFer Val Lesieur passes

 

Story courtesy of Bones Bourcier

The loss of Val LeSieur is going to rock a lot of racing people in the Northeast, and indeed up and down the East Coast. Across several decades he published Speedway Scene, which had to be the liveliest trade paper ever printed. It carried news and opinion, it infuriated the occasional track operator, it ran semi-regular pages of goofy photos and captions, and it tied together a region full of readers who considered it a bible. In my early teens I was one of those kids, buying the paper for 50 cents at Plainville Stadium, seven or eight miles from my home in Connecticut. Later I wrote columns for Val, and by age 18 I’d moved to Massachusetts to work for him full-time, cranking out a 48-page (later 56-page) paper on gallons of coffee, snacks, and at least one all-nighter a week. Every Monday-Wednesday it bordered on torture, but, looking back, it was a joy. I worked for Val in various editorial positions (and essentially lived with his family part-time) from mid-1979 through most of ’88, except for a very brief stint in 1983 when I mistakenly thought civilian life looked appealing. Among those who wrote for Speedway Scene in those years were Pete Zanardi, Buffy Swanson, Dave Moody, Phil Smith, Kevin Eckert, Bob Echo, Toodi Gelinas, Mark Thomas, Jack Flowers, Don and Joanne Davies, Charlie Langois, Gary Grim, John Brouwer and Dave Shippee, Kraze Korlacki, Bob Morris, and many more. Together with Bob Echo, Val created the annual Racearama trade show that, truth be known, was one of racing’s biggest parties. He and I ran up and down the road probably hundreds of times, to Martinsville, Daytona, Oswego, Syracuse, Islip, Pocono, and countless other tracks. It was my honor, back in 2011, to induct him into the New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame, as pictured. Val never had a dull moment, and to be in his orbit was to laugh a lot, yell a little, and move on to the next adventure. My heart goes out to his daughter, Valerie, who has known too much sadness. But, for a minute, let’s think of him and smile. He always signed letters, “Your pal Val,” and he wasn’t kidding. He was everybody’s pal. — Bones

Image may contain: Mark Bourcier and Val LeSieur, people smiling, people standing and suit

Treasurer Val LeSieur recovering

Treasurer  and HOF member  Val LeSieur has been under the weather since before the NEAR Banquet. Val  had been hospitalized for over a month until he recently underwent a surgical procedure. Things are looking much better, and he will be moved to a facility to complete his recovery. His loving daughter Valarie has been by his side and also has been helping fulfill his duties on the newsletter and membership. During this Holiday season, we want to wish both Val and Valarie the best, and offer our full support whenever needed. I am sure any cards of cheer, prayer cards, or Christmas cards would be appreciated by both.  They can be sent to P.O. Box 300, North Easton, Ma. 02356.

Please keep Val and Valarie in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days. We will try to keep you all advised. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Bob Potter Visitation/Funeral info

 

 

Robert A. “Bob” Potter 1941 – 2019
Norwich – Robert A. “Bob” Potter 78, of Norwich died Wednesday afternoon September 18, 2019 at the Backus Hospital. He was born in Norwich on July 6, 1941 the son of the late Aubrey and Rose (Tetreault) Potter. Bob was employed for 36 years as an X-Ray Technician Radiographer at Electric Boat in Groton before retiring. Bob was married to Dale (Holloway) Potter who survives him. Besides his wife, he is survived by his son Bobby Potter of Ledyard, two daughters, Ginny Potter and Debbie Potter, both of Norwich, step-son Montana Allen, grandchildren Cameron Coffey and his wife Jennifer of Baltic, and Justin Potter of Montville, nephew Wayne Potter and former wife Dottie Lambert. In addition, he is survived by his three cats, Jasmine, Smokey and Little Red. Bob was predeceased by one brother Wayne Potter, sister-in-law Brenda Potter and nephew Billy Joe Potter. The family of Bob would like to thank the racing community for their love and support.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, September 26th at 10:00 A.M. at Sacred Heart Church in Taftville, meeting directly at church. Burial will follow at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Taftville. Calling hours at the Guillot Funeral Home, 75 South B Street, Taftville will be Wednesday, September 25th from 1-4 P.M. and 6-9 P.M. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Compassion for Cats of New London County, Route 169, Lisbon, CT 06351