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Bill Galvin Passes; Arrangements Set

Published: September 26, 2020 3:57 pm ET

Last Comment: October 4, 2020 9:43 am ET | 21 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Trot Insider has learned that Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer William ‘Bill’ Galvin of Mississauga, Ont. has passed away at the age of 89.

A native of Arnprior, Ont., Galvin made a tremendous impact on horse racing in the country -- so much so that he was part of just the second class to be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame’s Communicator category.

Galvin was a Canadian horse racing historian, poet, author, publisher, educator, horseman, humanitarian, publicist, former thoroughbred racing official and executive editor of TROT Magazine.

His promotions transcended racing. He led a charge to bring harness racing onto the ice on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans, one of those a young future Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the well-being of horse racing during his career. He was also a member of the Advisory board for the School of Equine Studies at Toronto’s Humber College of Applied Arts.

Galvin was the director of special promotions (harness and thoroughbred) for the Ontario Jockey Club and publicity chairman for the Greenwood Centennial Program. He produced a History of Grand Circuit Racing in Canada and the Golden Horseshoe Circuit Press Book, conducted equine poetry and art competitions for grade school children and organized both trotting under saddle races at Greenwood and intercollegiate harness driving championships.

He published Ballads of the Turf in 2006, was the first publicity chairman of the Sovereign Awards and published a 100-year history of racing at Greenwood and Woodbine. Galvin, the former president of the North American Harness Publicists Association, was a regular weekly contributor to Canadian and U.S. harness trade magazines, and wrote a regular nightly review of the races for the dailies and other media.

More recently, Galvin established 'The Stable That God Loves' as a fundraiser for the Standardbred Racetrack Chaplaincy of Canada. He continued to work with racetrack chaplaincy programs, serving as the Vice-President of the Race Track Chaplaincy of Canada Inc. He also delved into Standardbred racehorse ownership, co-owning 2020 two-year-old winner Shes A Sassy Beach with Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ken Middleton.

Bill’s sense of family and loyalty extended into many loving and deep friendships which he cherished and were of great significance to him. He was loved and respected for his many contributions and accomplishments in the horse racing world. Throughout his life, Bill continuously sought ways to help others through which he established many lasting connections. He strongly believed in the healing, friendship and comfort of horses, a love and passion shared with all he met.

Bill will be deeply missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him. His passion for life, positive outlook, laughter and endless stories are forever ingrained in our hearts. We know he is smiling down on all of us and cheering on his Fighting Irish from the best seats in the house.

Cherished husband of the late Anny (nee Braun). Loving brother of Catherine Wallace (late Jack). Predeceased by his brother Ewart (late Jessie) and his sister Mary Cole (late John). Son of the late Michael and Ethel (nee Millar). Bill was also loved and will be greatly missed by Kurt and Lilly Braun and his large extended family in Ottawa, Mississauga, Michigan and Germany.

Bill’s final care and arrangements have been entrusted to the Pilon Family Funeral Home and Chapel Ltd., Arnprior where a private family visitation will be held. Extended family and friends are welcome to join us on their electronic devices for a live broadcast Funeral Mass which will be celebrated in St. John Chrysostom Church, Arnprior on Tuesday, September 29 at 11 o'clock. Interment Malloch Road Cemetery, Arnprior. For those wishing to make a donation in memory of Bill, please consider the Racetrack Chaplaincy of Canada.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Bill Galvin.

(with files from the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)

October 4, 2020 - 9:43 amBill Galvin visited Solvalla

Bill Galvin visited Solvalla and the Elitlopp weekend three years ago. I had made his aquaintance a year earlier at Mariendorf, Berlin. I only wish we had met earlier, not only for tapping into his well of stories on projects (one of which was the Student Driving World Championship, c 1975, the follow-up that set Bill on to the idea of revisiting the kids in Europe. Story in Sulkysport).
On Sept 6, he wrote me: "In connection with the article I am researching on hub rails at race tracks, can you provide me with a one liner on the situation in Sweden, and, if possible, the other Scandinavian countries."
Bill, I could have provided you with all the copy on this available, as we're all, in our small ways, trying to maintain the dedication to the sport and the community of the industry you served.
Ulf Lindstrom, Stockholm.

September 30, 2020 - 12:02 amKind selfless gentleman. RIP

Kind selfless gentleman.
RIP Bill.

September 29, 2020 - 10:17 amBill you will be truly

Bill you will be truly missed, you were an absolute gentleman. We will treasure the times when you would visit our farm, your knowledge and stories were second to none. Your dedication to our sport was truly amazing and we are grateful for all that you did. You were an inspiration for the younger generation and you always took a great interest in everyone’s lives and paths they were taking. Bill May you Rest In Peace, respectively James, Dr. Roly and Glenda Armitage.

September 28, 2020 - 11:36 amHarness Racing has lost its

Harness Racing has lost its greatest friend. Bill literally dedicated the majority of his life to promoting, supporting and "loving" everything about the sport and the people who were involved in it. He almost defied the aging process, continuing to be involved in worthwhile projects with boundless enthusiasm. We began a friendship a number of years ago and I soon learned how selfless Bill was. He was willing to lend, or in most cases give, anything he had to offer in the way of pictures, written material and above all his vast knowledge. His reward was knowing that he had done something good for racing. He will be missed by many. I was privileged to write a  Rewind entitled "On Bill Galvin" published July 26, 2014, about the time he entered the HOF.

September 27, 2020 - 6:03 pmBill Galvin was one of the

Bill Galvin was one of the most wonderful human beings I have ever known. His passion for the horse racing industry was boundless. Equalled only by his compassion for people by helping, advising, supporting and encouraging whenever he could. He did so much for Standardbred Racing. I hope young enthusiasts will continue Bill's legacy.
God bless you Bill and may you rest in peace. It is an honour to have known you.

September 27, 2020 - 12:39 pmThe following post was sent

Dan Fisher SAID...

The following post was sent to me by MR. TOM RANKIN:

I was saddened and shocked when I heard of Bill's death. While I have only known him for a few years he is undoubtedly one of kindest sincerest and finest persons I have ever met.
His passion was promotion of the horse racing industry but he will also be remembered for his cultural and humanitarian efforts. My deepest sympathies to his family. We have lost a giant.
Tom and Beth Rankin.

September 27, 2020 - 9:49 amBill and I go back to the

John Findley SAID...

Bill and I go back to the late '30s when he came up to the farm on my wood sleigh. This was his first exposure to racehorses and his close ties to me and my parents continued with him helping out on the farm into his teens. Our friendship has continued and we will miss him. He was so proud of his filly. Mary Jane and I extend our heartfelt condolences to his sister Cathy and her family.
John Findley.

September 27, 2020 - 8:32 amBill was an amazing

Bill was an amazing individual who had a profound influence on the sport of harness horse racing. He was the eternal optimist who always saw the good in people or situations. He deserves all the accolades expressed by his many admirers and more. May this wonderful man RIP!

September 27, 2020 - 5:49 amBill was one of the nicest

Bill was one of the nicest people I ever met not only in harness racing, but in life, period. As a member of the Canadian Chapter of USHWA, Bill was always advocating for the youth members and creating avenues for their involvement. We all lost a great friend and I am saddened that I will never be able to speak with Mr. Galvin again. Rest In Peace, sir.

September 26, 2020 - 11:20 pmEven though we have the same

Even though we have the same background, I only met Bill about 15 years ago, through our mutual friends, John and Mary Jane Findley, from Arnprior like Bill and I.
I value the copy of Ballads of the Turf which Bill signed and sent to me.
He was a great promoter of our sport, and his work will not soon be forgotten.
Prayers arising for his family.
The Rev. Mark McLennan, Woodstock.

September 26, 2020 - 10:00 pmBill lived for horse racing,

Ben Wallace SAID...

Bill lived for horse racing, and his devotion to the sport was second to none. He will be missed.

September 26, 2020 - 9:32 pmIt is hard to believe he is

Norman Hall SAID...

It is hard to believe he is gone. He was so full of life when we last had dinner together in London after the sale. We need more Bill Galvins in this industry. Volunteers are the lifeblood of harness racing.

September 26, 2020 - 8:31 pmLast time I saw Bill was a

Ann MacNeill SAID...

Last time I saw Bill was a couple of years ago when had me out to see his mares and jointly owned STBD at Ken Middleton's barn. A great, enthusiastic, yet down to earth gentleman. I had the pleasure of being Bill's guest at the C.N.E. and have some nice shots of he and Ron Turcotte. Bill's passing is a big loss for Canadian Horse Racing.

September 26, 2020 - 8:14 pmI lost one of my best friends

I lost one of my best friends today. Anyone that had the pleasure of meeting Bill Galvin during their travels generally had the same thing to say about him. He was funny, charming, polite, hard working, sincere, respectful, dedicated, intelligent, generous and he had an incredible passion for harness racing. Bill was one of my dad's best friends, and over the course of the last decade or so Bill and I forged an incredible friendship, as well.

I'll be forever grateful for all of the great advice he shared with me, and I'm just as grateful for all the ways he never hesitated to help me. One sage piece of advice he offered me - and I'll share it with you in case you want to take it to heart - was to never keep score when it comes to what you do for your friends. Help them whenever you can, and be happy to do it. Enjoy the great satisfaction that is the bi-product of helping someone in need. Bill made it his duty to help whoever he could whenever he could.

I lost a great friend and racing has lost a great friend in Bill Galvin. Until we meet again my friend.

September 26, 2020 - 6:14 pmHaving worked with Bill for

Robert Coole SAID...

Having worked with Bill for those years as directors of the Race Track Chaplaincy, Bill was committed to doing the best for those that needed it most. He cared about everyone that he came into contact with and wanted the best for them. Rest in peace, my friend.

September 26, 2020 - 6:02 pmOne wonderful human being.

murray brown SAID...

One wonderful human being.

September 26, 2020 - 5:36 pmSincere condolences to the

Sincere condolences to the Galvin family. Bill was a genuine great guy and a relentless promoter of our sport and goodwill. He will be sorely missed, his life’s experiences as he shared them were invaluable.

September 26, 2020 - 5:17 pmWhat a shock. Although I had

Karen Hauver SAID...

What a shock. Although I had known of Bill’s numerous promotions for the Standardbred industry for years, I just met him a few years ago and we immediately began working on the Youth Literary Derby - an updated version of his poetry contest from years ago. He was such a wonderful man and we became quite close. He had so much energy and was always working on a new project. I’m so glad he got to see his filly race in the OSS. He was so thrilled with her. I will miss him. My condolences to his family and many friends.

September 26, 2020 - 4:58 pmMy condolences to the Galvin

My condolences to the Galvin family. RIP Bill.

September 26, 2020 - 4:52 pmI'm very saddened and quite

Dan Fisher SAID...

I'm very saddened and quite shocked. Mr Galvin didn't seem like he was 89, or even close to that. Every time we spoke or I saw him, he was always working on some new way to gain exposure for harness racing with the vigor of someone half his age.

Rest in peace Mr Galvin - you were as kind a person as I've ever met. We probably won't do it as well as you did, but we, the next generation, will try our best to carry on your mission of exposing our great sport to more people as best we can.

September 26, 2020 - 4:40 pmI’m sorry to hear this. Bill

Lisa Hocking SAID...

I’m sorry to hear this. Bill was a lovely man. Condolences to his family and friends.

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