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A Tribute to My Father, George William Warner

by John Warner

George William Warner, better known as Junior. My father; your friend. There are a lot of words that could describe Junior – ornery, stubborn, bullheaded. But deep down – loving. And, all in all, a great horseman and a very loving father and friend.

I owe a lot to him for who I am as a father, horseman and the man I’ve become. From being that tough disciplinarian to that loving father that said, "Let’s go fishing," he was a good man.

A story I remember, I was in eighth grade and wanted to hunt in the worst way. He didn’t take me much back then. We lived in New Jersey at Hamden River Farm. I decided I was going to get a duck without him. I went to my stepmother and asked her for a can of corn. I went down to the garage and got my fishing pole. The river was right there in front of the farm. We probably had two feet of snow and ice everywhere. I took that pole and can of corn and went down to the river after school. It was pretty iced over except for little areas. The ducks were across the other side. I cast that line across the River. I couldn’t catch one right then, but I left it there. The next morning, I got up and went down to the river, and there was a duck on my pole. Long story short, I fell in, got wet, froze and Dad said, "You damn fool". And I said, "Yeah, but I got the duck." Needless to say, he took me hunting a little more after that.

Two of the happiest horse moments I can remember for my dad and me were when my son Benjamin showed his Road Pony at New Castle. My dad said, "You damn fool, leave him alone. He’s doing fine." He grinned from ear to ear that day watching his grandson show.

I’m pretty sure he had several other highlights in his long career because he had so many great horses. But the second greatest memory I recall was another time at New Castle. We each had a 2 year old fine harness horse. He even cut me off in the warm up ring. My brother, Gordon, said, "Junior, you cut him off." And Dad said, "He needs to get the hell out of the way." He wound up winning that class that day. And I know that was one of the highlights of his later years in the horse business. You’d have sworn he’d won Louisville that day. For the next two years, he told me time and time again, "You still can’t beat me, Boy."

We can’t replace Junior, but we can honor him by taking everything he taught us and using it to make us better people, better horsemen, better horse trainers, and better friends.

Dad, I love you and I’ll miss you.

George William Warner, Jr., 79, of Youngstown, OH. Passed away at St. Elizabeth Health Center on Tuesday, March 3, 2009. Mr. Warner was born July 21, 1929, in Lebanon, KY. A son of George Warner, Sr. and Grace Alice Thompson Warner. He was a self employed horse trainer, a member of the Black Horsemans Association and served in the United States Marine Corp. He was preceded in death by his parents. Mr. Warner leaves to mourn his loss, four sons: George Warner III of KY, Rick (Roxanne) Reed of PA, Johnny (Susan) Warner, and Gordon (Mary) Grenet both of KY; Seven daughters, Mary Elizabeth (Clarence) Lewis of KY, Yvette (Hiran) Woodberry of OH, Linda (George P.) Vactor, Leslie Warner both of PA, Emily Warner of OH, Janyce (Brad) Fry of Loren (Phil) Uretta, both of PA: Two brothers, Gayle (Belinda) Warner and Michael Warner both of PA. Nine sisters: Margaret Prater of OH, Florence (Earl Sr.) Walker, Carolann (Charles Sr.) Walker and Roberta (Myron) Gabriel all of OH, Georgeann Walker of NJ, Stephanie Anderson of D.C., Shawn Anderson of PA, Barbara (Jerome) Odom of SC, and Glenda Hughes of PA. A very special nephew Bobby (Yvette) Prater. 20 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. And a host of nieces and nephews.

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