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MUSEUM TRUSTEE EMERITUS ROBERT TUCKER PASSES

Robert Tucker, the owner of Stonegate Farm in Glen Gardner, NJ, passed away early Sunday morning, October 23, in New Jersey. He was 90.

Tucker was born in Brooklyn in 1926 and was raised in Rockville Center, Long Island, only twelve miles from the celebrated Roosevelt Raceway. His father owned Standardbred horses and by the age of four Tucker entered the horse world through horse shows and riding camps. In 1935 he moved to a farm in Morristown, NJ, with his family, where they owned horses, cows, pigs, chickens and canaries. As a teenager he worked on a dairy farm and began to realize his desire to have his own farm.

After attending high school at the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ, Tucker took a brief sojourn from college to serve in the Navy Air Corps during World War II and afterwards pursued his BA at Wesleyan University. In 1951 he graduated from Brown University with a MA in economics. Tucker began his career at Banker’s Trust Company on Wall Street and in 1954 joined Beneficial Corporation of Peapack, NJ, as the assistant to the president. By 1969 Tucker had worked his way to the position of chief financial officer and in 1977 became a member of the office of the president.

In 1960 Tucker decided to fulfill his childhood dream by purchasing a farm. He set his sights on one located on the outskirts of Glen Gardner, NJ, which was owned by Ernest Chappell, the original voice of the Pall Mall cigarette radio commercials. In 1965 he purchased the 115-acre farm and named it Stonegate Farm. Under Tucker’s guidance the farm grew steadily, stretching over 1,100 acres at its largest. The farm’s 350 acres became part of New Jersey’s State Agriculture Development Committee’s Farm Preservation Program.

Mr. Tucker and Stonegate bred and raced many top performers over the years, with horses trained by friend Ed Lohmeyer for 47 years. One of their first top horses together was the pacer Landslide p,3,1:54.1 ($162,835). Among their recent stakes winners are pacing filly Ideal Nuggets p,2,1:50.4 ($331,242)  and trotting mare Classic Lane 4,1:52 ($715,470). Mr. Tucker also bred this year’s Breeders Crown finalist All Bets Off p,3,1:48.3f ($2,112,433).

Tucker attracted many prominent stallions to his farm, including Cam Fella p,4,1:53.1 ($2,041,367), Dream Away p,3,1:50 ($1,342,071), Albert Albert p,3,1:52.1 ($1,237,070), Pacific Fella p,5,1:48.2z ($1,064,631) and Landslide p,3,1:54.1 ($162,835). He also developed a strong band of broodmares and a number of successful racing fillies and colts, including Headline Hanover p,4,1:54.1f ($524,357). Stonegate has another yearling consignment in Harrisburg next month.

Tucker served on the New Jersey Sire Stakes board during the mid-1980s and in 1985 was appointed head of the board by Governor Thomas Kean. He acted on the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association board of directors and as a member of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Tucker served on the board of directors at Drew University, the Peddie School, and Morristown Hospital. He acted as director and chairman of the canine committee for The Seeing Eye Inc. of Morristown, NJ, the oldest existing guide dog school in the world. He served as director and president of the CTW Foundation Inc. (formerly the Beneficial Foundation, Inc.) and as trustee, treasurer and assistant secretary for The Hodson Trust.

Since 1996 the CTW Foundation Inc. of Wilmington, DE, led by Tucker, has provided significant financial support to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. In 2001 the Foundation assumed responsibility for funding the operating costs of the Museum’s free traveling exhibit, “The Story of Harness Racing by Currier & Ives.” To date, the presentation has reached an audience of nearly half a million worldwide. On Hall of Fame Day, July 5, 2009, Tucker received the Museum’s Pinnacle Award for his exemplary effort in promoting the Museum and its mission. Tucker was elected to the board of trustees of the Museum in 2010 and became a trustee emeritus in 2014.

Robert Tucker is survived by his wife, Lauren, six children and ten grandchildren.