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Robert A. Lacasse, 87, dies
Thursday, September 14, 2017 - from the USTA Communications Department

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Columbus, OH --- Robert A. “Bucky” Lacasse, 87, died Aug. 30, 2017, at Watsons Fields Nursing Home in Dover, N.H.

He was born Feb. 9, 1930, to Edgar and Lucy Brouillard Lacasse and was the only son and middle child. He had two sisters, Pauline Desmarais and Justine Gilbert. His parents and sisters have all died. He was born and raised in Rochester and lived his entire life there. He went to Holy Rosary Elementary school and graduated from Spaulding High School in 1948.

He met his wife Maryann Jewell Lacasse of Warner, N.H., at Plymouth Teachers College as it was known in those days and they were married on July 25, 1955. They were married for 62 years and lived in Rochester. After retirement they spent winters in Bell, Fla. and were avid Gator fans.

Mr. Lacasse grew up in “French Town” at the top of Lafayette St. next to the Rochester Fair Grounds. It was there that, as a very young boy, he found his passion with horses. During the 1930s and '40s the Rochester Fair was part of the Grand Circuit. He knew most of the top trainers and drivers that today are in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. He loved the horses; there was no missing that fact to anyone who even casually knew him.

Mr. Lacasse spent his entire life owning, breeding, training, driving and following harness horses. He owned somewhere around 75 horses over 50-plus years. He raced horses at Pompano Park, Liberty Bell, Brandywine, Yonkers, The Meadowlands, Rockingham Park, Foxboro, Scarborough Downs and certainly every fair throughout New England, especially the Rochester Fair which was always a very special place to him.

He was an excellent horseman and enjoyed success in buying and breeding harness horses. He raced multiple stakes winners in Florida and New England. He enjoyed his friendships and partnerships with trainers like Kenny Beach, Bert Beckwith and Warren Harp. He raced very successful horses like Cool Flying Fella, Diablo Cedarn, Admiral Nemo, Thea’s Character, Redleaf Macabuck, Reinsman, Pat’s Landing, Darlington Stripe, Repatriate and Aurelia’s Boy. He would say, "This is a business, they aren’t pets" but the look in his eyes always said differently. Horses were very important to him.

His other love was the game of golf. He was the Rochester Country Club Champion in 1974. He was a good player and played by the rules. He had a moral compass and lived his life that way. He was a Marine through and through and very proud of it. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War.

He worked at Sanborn McDuffee Co. in Rochester before the Marine Corps and after the Marines went back to Sanborn McDuffee and worked there until 1962 when he bought the business where his father had once worked. He ran the furniture and floorcovering store until the late 1980s when he retired. He was a good businessman.

He and Maryann spent winters in Florida at their home at the Gilcrest Training Center where he was the treasurer and unofficial mayor of Gilcrest farms. Gilcrest is a major harness horse training facility in Bell, Fla., that typically winters 300 horses. Summers were always in Rochester with the family.

He and his wife Maryann had three children, Marc, Jean Ann and Stephen; a daughter-in-law, Cathie Williams Lacasse; a son-in-law, Stephen DeVore; Steve’s girlfriend, Dr. Michelle Maloney; grandchildren, Christopher, Gregory, Robert, Patrick, Katie, Stephen, Jeff and Jacob; and great-grandchildren, Emma, Grady, Jane, Timothy, Dylynn, and Colt.

Mr. Lacasse loved life, he loved horses and golf, but he really loved his family. He loved to spend time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and loved to hear of their achievements in life and in sports. He played baseball, basketball and softball with Allains Jewelry and Mayberry Shoe. He loved to compete, he was a good card player and he could read a harness horse program.

Memorial contributions may be made to Howie’s Field of Dreams at located at Roger Allen Park in Rochester, N.H. Howie’s Field of Dreams is a nonprofit baseball facility for children with special needs.

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