(Edited release from the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association)
Former Washington Thoroughbred industry leader and horseman Edward Heinemann died May 28 in Olympia, Wash. A native of Ritzville, Wash., he was 91.
After serving as a flight instructor for the Army Air Corps during World War II, Heinemann started as field secretary for the Washington Horse Breeders Association in 1946. He was sent to Coldstream Stud in Kentucky and Northridge Farms in California to learn about breeding programs and anything else in connection to the racing industry.
“The early horse racing business in Washington was the blind leading the blind,” remembered Heinemann in a 2008 interview. “If I knew how much of a ‘missionary’ I had to be, I don’t think I’d have taken the job. We had too many of the Old West guys. Their way was, you breed Old Nell to Old Charlie, and you get a colt. You let the mare take care of him for two years, then you get a rope and you try to break him. They were strictly cowboying.”
One of Heinemann’s jobs was helping breeders improve the local bloodstock. He also was responsible for spearheading the 4-H Youth Broodmare Program that the WHBA sponsored for many years.
After Heinemann resigned his position as executive vice president of the WHBA in 1973, he became the executive secretary for the Washington Horse Racing Commission, a post he held for 4 1/2 years. He then became a racing steward in Oregon before retiring.
Heinemann is survived by sons Russ and Dale. A memorial service will be held June 19 at 1:00 p.m. at the Elks Club in Olympia. For directions go to http://www.olympiaelks.org/.