Columbus, OH --- Marie Catherine Hill, 85, a Canadian who fell in love with harness racing as a young girl and became an important author of books about participants in the sport, died Nov. 22, 2016, in Merlin, Ore., near the residence of her daughter, Irene, after a brief illness.
Born Aug. 12, 1931, in Blacks Harbor, New Brunswick, Ms. Hill attended her first harness race at the half-mile track at St. Stephen, New Brunswick, when she was 11 years old. At 13 she wrote her first article for The Canadian Sportsman, a few paragraphs titled “Watchim on the Trot,” which was about the trotting track record holder at St. Stephen. The story led to other articles for The Canadian Sportsman’s Christmas editions. She also wrote for The Horseman And Fair World, Hoof Beats, The Harness Horse, and Trot magazines.
Ms. Hill became one of harness racing’s most prolific historians, writing six books including: Single G: The Horse That Time Forgot; Adios: The Big Daddy of Harness Racing; Gentleman Joe-The Story of Harness Driver Joe O’Brien; Mr. Harness Racing-the Story of Delvin Miller; and The Horseman from Alberton.
In 1959 Ms. Hill moved to California, where she worked as an accountant and office manager for construction companies in the San Francisco Bay area. Her interest in harness racing, its horses and people, never waned. During the 1970s and early 1980s she bred, owned and raced horses in California, Kentucky and Indiana.
Ms. Hill became acquainted with Delvin Miller by mail when he responded to an advertisement she had run in The Horseman And Fair World in which she had asked for historical information about Single G. Miller responded, as was his habit, and thus began a lifelong friendship. Miller subsequently asked Ms. Hill to write his biography and she delightedly agreed to the project. In 1992, when Adios was inducted into the Indiana Standardbred Hall of Fame, Ms. Hill accepted the award at Miller’s request.
In 1984, Ms. Hill nominated B C Count to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The horse’s subsequent election, which came in 1998 following a 14-year campaign on her part, brought her great satisfaction.
In 2005 Ms. Hill was honored with the Harness Racing Museum’s Pinnacle Award and in 2007 she was inducted into the Communicators’ Hall of Fame.
In addition to harness racing, Ms. Hill’s hobbies included the Civil War and watching the New York Yankees. She loved her family, friends, animals, her Catholic faith, and was a devoted mother and daughter.
In addition to her daughter, Irene (Stephen), Ms. Hill is survived by her cousin, Sheila Hurley and friend, Arlene Matheson, both of whom she called sisters; the Walker family, Hill and O’Connor cousins; and many more cousins.
A memorial service will be held at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Burlingame, Calif., where Ms. Hill lived until she moved to Oregon to be near her daughter.
Ms. Hill was an avid supporter and former board member of the Stable of Memories at The Red Mile and memorial contributions may be sent to Stable of Memories, P.O. Box 11073, Lexington, KY 40512-1073, or to Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, P.O. Box 15368, San Francisco, CA 94115-0368, or to any animal shelter or rescue.
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