2005-07-14 / Obituaries

Harold L. Childs

Harold L. Childs

CHELSEA—Harold L. Childs died Sunday, July 10, 2005, three weeks after his 96th birthday.

He was born June 21, 1909, in Corryton, Tenn., the son of Charles K. and Susan (Kitts) Childs. After graduation from high school, he entered his lifework of training horses. He worked as the manager-trainer for four farms, including Oscar Smith’s Carolanne Farm in Norfolk, Va., Emerald Farm in Ohio, Russell Law in Maryland and George Huss’ Valley Farm in Ringtown, Penna., before coming to Vermont to establish his own training stable on Harolyn Hill. He served briefly in the Air Force during World War II.

He was married to Marilyn Carlson Feb. 2, 1952, in Lexington, Ky. They moved to their farm in Chelsea in 1962, which is also the burial site of the stallion Justin Morgan. Many horses were sent to him for training on his Chelsea farm from as far away as Florida, North Carolina and Canada. While living in Vermont, Harold trained two of the Morgan world’s greatest champions, "Trophy’s Keepsake" and "Topfield’s Janet." He judged horse shows from coast to coast in 26 states and Canada. He had shown several world champion American Saddlebreds at the Kentucky State Fair, and was known for his ability to make a five-gaited champion. He retired from training at the end of the 1982 show season.

He was a nationally-recognized horseman, earning awards to the Hall of Fame by the United Professional Horsemen’s Assoc. in 1986, the Walk of Honor at the American Saddlebred Museum in Lexington, Ky., and in 1997 was honored with the Golden Reins Award from the American Morgan Horse Assoc.

A longtime member of the Fish & Game Club, he was also an avid coon hunter who liked the chase rather than the kill. He had top coon dogs and had owned several coon-hunting mules. He was highly respected in Chelsea for his great devotion to the high school sports teams. He was honored in 1992 at the Chelsea Sports Banquet and ever since "The Harold Childs Award" is given each year to those dedicated to the sports program.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn, of 53 years; four sons, Harold Childs of Colorado, David Childs of Orange, Robert Childs of Chelsea, and Carl Childs of Williston; and 10 grandchildren (eight of them in Vermont; Wayland, Eli, Albert, Mary, Peter, Grace, Andrew, and Ethan).

He was predeceased by his sister, Mildred, in 1997; and his good friend, Wayland Austin, with whom he hunted and shared memories of World War II.

Calling hours were held Tuesday, July 12, at the Boardway & Cilley Funeral Home on Main Street in Chelsea. A graveside funeral service was held Wednesday, July 13, at the Hunt Cemetery in Tunbridge, with the Rev. Diane Rochat Wise officiating. Pall bearers were Paul Donahue, John Gregory, Steve Gallacher, Doug Lyford, Dick Lyford, and Alan Lyford. Honorary pall bearers were Rick Wallen, Art Perry, Ralph Carpenter, and Richard Boule.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Visiting Nurse Alliance of Vt. and N.Y., Randolph Chapter, 46 South Main Street, White River Junction, Vt., 05001; or to the First Branch Ambulance, P.O. Box 74, Chelsea, Vt., 05038; or to Hunt Cemetery Association, in care of Bertha Delano, 643 Vt. Route 110, Tunbridge, Vt., 05077.

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