It is with broken hearts that we announce the passing of Bill, at home with his family, at the age of 74. An incredibly strong, courageous, loyal and generous man, Bill will be greatly missed by his partner of 29 years, Katrina, and their daughter, Jennifer, sons, Brett and Shawn and their mother, Caroline, grandchildren, Taylor, Blake and Jake, sister, Mary (the late Chuck Martin) and his nephew and nieces: Mark Martin (Maxine), Kim Kichinko (John) and Tracy Kichinko (Michael). Bill was pre-deceased by his sister, Margie (the late Ray Norton).
The family would like to thank Dr. Alan Gunning for his exceptional care and support of Bill, Dr. Katherine Phillips and the third-floor staff of West Haldimand General Hospital, and the many wonderful PSWs and nurses who helped care for him at home. Your attention to his care, and kindness to the family—during an exceptionally challenging year—was very much appreciated.
Typically, the quietest person in the room, Bill made friends easily thanks to his ability to be a great listener, generosity and loyalty, not to mention his dry wit. “Bruser’s” friendships spanned his life growing up in Caledonia (including regular morning coffee at Tim Horton’s south), his incredible success as one of the best Standardbred horse trainers of all time and his passion for car racing (NASCAR, CASCAR).
Bill enjoyed an amazing career, with horses he trained earning almost $55 million and capturing 2,738 wins in 8,998 starts. Fifteen horses he trained won more than $1 million in one season, with three winning more than $2 million in a single year. He was a four-time Trainer of the Year in Canada and won Trainer of the Year in the U.S. in 1993. Horses he trained won the sport’s most prestigious races including the pacing Triple Crown, the North America Cup (four times), Meadowlands Pace (three), Little Brown Jug (three), Jugette (one), Breeders Crown (three), Confederation Cup (three), Canadian Pacing Derby (four), U.S. Pacing Championship (three), and too many more to list. His most recent millionaire winner in 2018, Nickel Bag, held a special place in Bill’s heart given that he, like Bill, won his success the hard way, over many years of racing at Mohawk Racetrack.
In spite of his success, Bill never took his gifts and good fortune for granted, working incredibly hard in good times and bad. During his best years, he often appeared to have a ‘larger than life’ quality, but he remained incredibly humble and appreciative of his success and was quick to share his good fortune with anyone who needed help, professionally, personally or in the community.
Cremation has taken place. Given the current pandemic, no visitation or service is planned at this time. A celebration of Bill’s life will take place next year. In the meantime, the family would appreciate friends sharing their stories and personal memories by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at millerfuneralchapel.ca or, Standardbred Canada. If so desired, donations to the following charities, in Bill’s memory, would be appreciated: West Haldimand General Hospital, the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, the Parkinson Society.