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In Memoriam – “Mac” and Marjorie McGilvary


January 19, 2006 - Raymond Alexander McGilvary, age 81, better known as “Mac” McGilvary, passed away. Involved in the Saddlebred business for many years and a friend to many, Mac enjoyed building and operating two Saddlebred farms in N.C. During the late 60’s he built his first Saddlebred stables, Laurel Hill Springs, in Troy, N.C. with Rayburn Suggs as trainer. After moving to Nashville, N.C., Mac hired Cash Lovell, Sr. to train his horses. In 1971, after relocating to Spring Hope, N.C., he built the Saddlebred farm Highland Springs Farm. Steve Allred was hired as Highland Springs’ trainer.

Mac’s initial horse purchases for were for his two daughters, however, as Mac’s love for Saddlebreds grew, he decided he wanted to learn how to ride horses and with great determination and ability, he showed his first Saddlebred at age 51.

Among some of Mac’s top show horses were a three-gaited mare Lucky Decision and equitation horse Peppermint Kid shown by daughter Susan McGilvary (Abernathy). One of Highland Springs’ most winning Saddlebreds was the fine harness mare Moonlight Reflections, which Steve Allred showed initially, and later was shown by Mac. Mac also showed a five-gaited horse Steamroller, and afterwards he showed a three-gaited horse Main Spring (also shown by Susan). The three-gaited juvenile horse, Sublime Spirit and three-gaited pleasure horse Crafty Contract were shown by Mac’s daughter Kathy McGilvary (Miller). In addition, Highland Springs Farm developed a breeding program which produced several fine Saddlebreds.

Many horse trainers crossed Mac’s path. Among them were: Mary Lou Funderburg, Ward Harris, Roy Harris, Ricky Harris, John Lucas, Cash Lovell Sr., Cash Lovell Jr., Steve Allred, Steve Joyce, Dwight O’Kelly, Rayburn Suggs and many others.

Mac is also remembered for his custom-built miniature horse stables. The toy barns known as McGilvary Miniatures were built from 1995 through 2001 and are now considered collectors’ items, inspired by his granddaughter, Jennifer Lynn Fisher, who has been showing Saddlebreds for the past 12 years.

Many knew Mac as a kind and generous man. He was also courageous. After serving as a bomber pilot in the Air Corps during Word War II and flying 35 missions over enemy territory, Mac was awarded the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mac resided in Marietta, Ga., where he died of complications from heart bypass surgery. Sadly, his wife, Marjorie McGilvary, age 83, passed away January 31, twelve days following Mac’s death.

Marjorie was also befriended by many in the horse industry. Supportive and positive, Marjorie always had something kind to say to everyone. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and great grandmother, showing great courage and strength as she struggled with multiple illnesses for the past two years.

Marjorie and Mac had been married for 63 years.

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