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Obituary-Gretchen Holmes Karels

Gretchen Holmes Karels ("GG" to some) passed away in Traverse City, Mich., on June 15, at the age of 92, after spending two weeks at the Traverse City Hospice House. She was the mother of Kim Karels Clements, owner and photographer for SaddlebredWeb and a long-time owner and promoter of American Saddlebreds. Karels’s outgoing personality has been missing from the Saddlebred show scene for a few years now, but she had continued to follow her friends through her daughter and the trade publications. Karels and her deceased husband, Florian, owned several Saddlebreds over the years, her favorite being CH Super Sultan who was purchased from Ruxer Farms as a three-year-old and shown to many accolades by Kim in three-gaited show pleasure and pleasure driving divisions under the direction of Ellis Waggoner and Zel Corkern.

Karels was the ultimate horse show mom in the late 1960s through the 1980s. She almost never missed a class and did everything from driving the trailer to small shows the first two years, to handling customer sales at major shows for Kim’s Mi-Kim Photos, and later her daughter, Laurie’s, American Saddlebred clothing line, Parker Lines, as well as serving as a faithful volunteer (along with her late husband) at the Indy 500 Charity Horse Show (now the Indianapolis Charity Horse Show).

Karels never missed attending the entire week of the World’s Championship Horse Show for 40 years until a couple of years ago when it became difficult for her to walk down to her box seats. Her passing is mourned by her daughters and their families: Kim Karels and David Clements of Lexington, Ky.; Laurie Karels and Michael Park of Suttons Bay, Mich., and Bonita Karels and Paul Stockmeyer of Williamsburg, Va.; six grandchildren and six great grandchildren. A perpetual memorial trophy will be presented in her honor at the Indianapolis Charity Horse Show.

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