It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Patty McCann (53) of Garden City on July 29, 2010. Mrs. McCann and her husband, Jim and son, Matt resided with Marie Harrison, her sister-in-law.
Mrs. McCann loved caring for harness horses and was proudest of her time working for Hall of Fame trainer Doug Ackerman at his base at Hazel Park in Detroit, Michigan. She cared for Chocolatier ($1.3 million) during his 2 and 3-year-old career, accompanying him to Du Quoin, Illinois for a victory at the World Trotting Derby in 2006. She also cared for the standout trotter Coventry, who earned more than $500,000 in his career.
She was born on December 22, 1956 in Peru, Indiana and was a 1975 graduate from Oak Hill High School in Converse, Indiana. She grew up as the fourth generation in a harness racing family and her love of horses was cultivated early. She learned how to care for racehorses in the stable of her father, Harry Sowash, in Converse and traveled with his horses to compete at tracks across the Midwest.
Mrs. McCann also worked during her career in the stables of Lee Sattelberg in Michigan and Lew Williams, an Immortal of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, in California and at the Meadowlands. She also worked for Vince Copeland at Hazel Park and owned the horse Capital Gains with him.
She married James Edward McCann on January 14, 1978 and the couple took up residence in Michigan. She was recognized by the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association as their Caretaker of the Year in 2002. When she finished working as a caretaker, she continued to work in The Tack Shoppe at Hazel Park and Northville Downs and maintained many friendships in the sport. She was also a long-time member of the U.S. Trotting Association.
Mrs. McCann will be remembered for her gift of giving of herself to her family and friends and to her horses. She lived unselfishly and was devoted to the animals in her life, from horses to dogs to cats.
Mrs. McCann is survived by her husband, Jim, and son, Matt, her mother, Janet Sowash of Converse, Indiana; four sisters, Trudy Sowash of Palmyra, Indiana, Jeanne Black of Jalapa, Indiana, Joanne Young of Campbell Hall, New York and Julie Green of Converse, Indiana. She is also survived by 14 nieces and nephews and several great nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her father, Harry Sowash, and brother, Jerry Sowash.
Donations in memory of Mrs. McCann can be made to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, 16575 Carey Road, Westfield, Indiana 46074. Memorial services will be held Saturday, August 7, 2010 at the Redford Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 10000 Beech Daly (between Plymouth and West Chicago) in Redford, Michigan. There is also a memorial planned at Hazel Park Harness Raceway on Saturday, August 7, 2010.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Patty’s family and many friends; she will be deeply missed.