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Tom Kirwan, 70, dies
Friday, January 27, 2017 - from The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

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Washington, PA --- Tom Kirwan, 70, a former trainer/driver who spent nearly 30 years as the stall superintendent at The Meadows, died Jan. 27, 2017.

Mr. Kirwan, of Meadow Lands, Pa., was the grandson of Michael J. Kirwan, a longtime United States Senator from Youngstown, Ohio. He was raised by his parents, John and Ruth, in the Washington, D.C., area. 

In the fall of 1964, at the age of 18, Mr. Kirwan came to Western Pennsylvania to visit his aunt and uncle, Michael and Jewel Kirwan. During that visit, the Kirwans took a trip to The Meadows for an evening of harness racing, and Mr. Kirwan was hooked.

Through an ad in the newspaper, he discovered that trainer George Beinhauer was looking for barn help, and he took his first job as a caretaker soon after.

“Flaky,” as Mr. Kirwan was known, worked for the Beinhauer Stable for several years, living at the Beinhauers' Von Valley Farm. He started driving horses in 1966 at The Meadows and around the Pennsylvania fair circuit.

In 1976, he took a job for horse owner Ed Ryan, who was starting his own stable after racing horses with Beinhauer.

Mr. Kirwan became the Ryan Stable’s main trainer and driver. During the 1970s through the early 1980s, he drove 453 winners and was one of the Meadows’ leading drivers.

In the late 1980s, when Ryan was a co-owner of The Meadows, Mr. Kirwan transitioned from the barn to the race office. He took over as the track’s stall superintendent, a position he held for three decades until his retirement in 2015.

Away from the track, Mr. Kirwan loved cheeseburgers and playing poker.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon, who works in the paddock at The Meadows; mother, Ruth; and three sisters and six brothers.

Funeral arrangements are not yet available.

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