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Phyllis Hodgkins, 88, dies
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - from the USTA Communications Department

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Columbus, OH --- Phyllis Hodgkins, 88, died peacefully at her home in Oviedo, Fla., on Nov. 28, 2017, after a short battle with cancer.

She was born Feb. 18, 1929, in Melfort, Saskatchewan, the daughter of Martin Luther (Lou) and Mary Ida Loblaw. She was preceded in death by her husband, Merle J. Hodgkins Jr., in 1991.

She began her love of harness racing, traveling to the local tracks, with her Dad to help him race his stable. After attending two years of college, she came to the States as assistant to Race Secretary Ed Keller. She travelled to California, Toronto and Foxboro, Mass. There she met her husband Merle, where they settled in his hometown of Greene, Maine.

She worked side by side with him, training a stable and building their business, Maine Horse Supply. They built one of the few companies in the country that built jog carts and sulkies, the Mainliner brand. She was always on the road selling tack and delivering new and refinished bikes to most of the tracks in New England.

But she always found a way to get back on the track to train her favorite trotters and pacers. Her favorites were Mary Ida and Lou Mills (named after her parents) and her best horse was Royal Turk. Many folks commented how she could handle any “puller” when others could not. They also bred horses on their farm in Wales, Maine.

She moved to Oviedo, Fla., in 1979, traveling north in the summers to race for a few months. After her stable days, she worked for 20 years at the local drug store. She made friends with everyone and was considered an exceptional friend by all, as she always kept in touch with her friends from childhood, racing, and her YMCA Swim Group. She traveled the world later in life and enjoyed meeting new people.

She is survived by her daughters, Jan Gilmour and Karen MacDonell; son-in-law, Soupy MacDonell; and grandson, Bret Gilmour. She was a proud grandmother and would brag to anyone she could about his hockey games. She was preceded in death by her son-in-law, Lloyd Gilmour, earlier this year.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 353 Sweetmans Lane, Ste 101, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535.


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