PRESQUE ISLE - Raymond V. Ireland, affectionately called "Razor," 84, passed away peacefully Dec. 21, 2012, at home with his family. His incredibly rich life began June 23, 1928, in Westfield, son of the late Vernon G. Ireland and Hilda K. Ireland.
He was raised in Westfield and attended The Ross one-room schoolhouse. He graduated from Presque Isle High School and played basketball on the Future Farmers team. He grew up working on his parent's farm and loved telling stories about that time throughout his life. As a young man he enjoyed and excelled at boxing, he organized a bowling team called the PI Bachelors and a softball team called the Ireland Gazelles, traveling throughout the county and New Brunswick. He also enjoyed playing cribbage and bridge, golfing and hunting with his friends. His greatest joy in life aside from his wife, Bobbie; and his family was the time he spent at the barn, training horses, his true calling in life. He entered the horse racing business in 1955 and soon established his first stable - Ireland, Holmes & Dumont. Later he owned a stable with Murray Kenney and Tom Perkins ,and raced in the first Maine Stake Racing program. He was quickly racing all throughout New England, Canada, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Kentucky and Florida. Notable and favorite horses of "Razor" included Governor's Choice, D.I. Sweetie, Persuadable, Fred & Barney, Pine Magic, He's Ah Corker, and Kerogen. He developed an expert's eye for picking out horses and excelled in the breeding aspect of the horse business. He continued to train horses into the year 2012, living his dream. He had many friends in the New England racing circuit, but enjoyed the fairs in Maine the most. 2003 was a milestone for him as he was honored for his considerable contributions and support of harness racing in the Sire Stakes. During the 150th anniversary of the Northern Maine Fair Ray was presented an award by the Maine Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association for 50 years of distinguished service in the horse racing industry. He was a longtime member of Maine Harness Horsemen's Association, MSBOA and the U.S. Trotting Association.
He was predeceased by his parents; son, Teddy Ireland; and great-granddaughter, Carly Rae Herrera. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 61 years, Bobbie; and beloved sister and brother, Ethel Condon and Dick Ireland. His greatest joys were his children and grandchildren, Billy and son, Jason; Teddy's daughter, Cary, Kim and wife, Wendy and daughter, Emily, Becky and husband, Albert Martin, and their children, Aaron and Jessica, Pammie and husband, Gene Lynch, and their sons, Nick, Toph and Benji, John and girlfriend, Lynn, and his son, Jeramy, and Sherry Plissey and husband, Lance, and sons, Dylan and Jake. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren, Kayla Ireland; Ruby Herrera, Olivia and Aiden Martin, and Raymond Lynch. Ray will also be missed by his lifelong and best friend; Richard "Flick" Adams. Ray is not gone; he is at the races.
A private memorial service was held Dec. 24 at his childhood church, The Calvary Baptist Church, Westfield. Donations may be made in his memory to Maine Harness Horsemen's Association Scholarship Fund, P.O. BOX 436, Augusta, ME 04332; or The Calvary Baptist Church, P.O. Box 87, Westfield, ME 04787.