Jan 05, 2018

In Memoriam: Charles T. Colgan

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Photo courtesy of Doherty Funeral Homes.

Former Fair Hill International (FHI) Executive Director and long-time integral member of the Fair Hill equestrian community, Charles T. Colgan, passed away on January 2, 2018, surrounded by his wife, children, and grand children. 

Colgan was former Executive Director of both National Steeplechase Foundation and FHI, former Racing Director with National Steeplechase Association, and was a current board member with Fair Hill International. Colgan held the role of FHI Executive Director for 10 years.

Colgan was the youngest child of Charles P. Colgan and Sabina Kelly Colgan, born in 1940. A first generation Irish American, he grew up in Hell's Kitchen and, as the son of a member of the Treasurers and Ticket Sellers Union, was able to attend a wide variety of sporting and theater events in New York City. His deep love of horse racing developed at an early age as a result of his experiences at the old Madison Square Garden, the New York racetracks, and summer visits to Saratoga. 

Colgan first met Audrey Walsh, daughter of Hall of Fame horse trainer Mickey Walsh and Colgan's future wife, while he was working as a white cap and she as an exercise rider at Belmont Park. Walsh and Colgan married in 1963, raised three children together, and celebrated 54 anniversaries. Their daughter, Kelly Colgan, and her husband, Peter McDermott, are prominent in today's horse racing industry.

Colgan graduated from Saint Bonaventure University in 1962 and went on to serve as a Captain in the Army for 2 years before attending UNC Chapel Hill Law School, graduating in 1969. He practice law in Charlotte, North Carolina until 1971, when he found a way to connect his professional life with his love for sport working for the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association in 1971. He became Executive Secretary and Racing Secretary/Handicapper in 1796, and spent the next 30 years working to strengthen the rules and fairness of the sport. He also served as editor of American Steeplechasing.

He was a husband to Audrey, a father to their children, Kerry, Kelly, and Patrick, a father-in-law to Neal, Peter, and Ellen, and a grandfather to Megan, Ethan, May, and Nora. He is survived by his sister, Patricia.

A visitation for Colgan's friends and family will be held on Monday, January 8 at 10:00 a.m. followed by mass at 11:00 a.m. at Saint John the Baptist Church, 200 E. Main Street, Newark, Deleware. In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to St. John Holy Angels Church.

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