Sissy Woolums, Operated Lexington Pedigree Agency, Dies

Margaret "Sissy" Woolums, who operated Pedigree Associates in Lexington, died Feb. 28 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the beginning of January. She was 68.

Born in Charleston, W.Va., Woolums started in racing at The Blood-Horse. She got involved in sale cataloguing while working there with Dan M. Bowmar III, and then at the new The Jockey Club Statistical Bureau. At the Statistical Bureau, she was involved in the early efforts at computerizing Thoroughbred racing and breeding in order to produce information for sale catalogues. During this time, she was involved in the changes in the way the page was set up, including the identification of stakes winners and stakes-placed runners through the introduction of a rudimentary form called 'black type.'

In 1970, Woolums opened her own cataloguing business, Pedigree Associates, with her husband, Bill, and produced a number of sale catalogues, as well as American Saddlebred horse show programs. Pedigree Associates is still functioning as Pedigree Productions in the same building in Lexington where it began.

Woolums worked with and traveled widely representing the original International Sales Cataloguing Standards committee, then under the stewardship of John Finney. She also published The South American Thoroughbred magazine, with an Argentine partner, which reported racing and breeding in South America.

Woolums' other endeavors included a position at the Kentucky Racing Commission during Gov. Brereton Jones' administration, and six years with The Jockey Club as Coordinator of International Information, a position she held until her retirement in 2001.

Woolums is survived by two daughters, Margaret and Anna, and four grandchildren. A brother lives in Lexington, Va.

Visitation will be at Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home in Versailles, Ky., March 3, between 4-8 p.m, followed the next day by a memorial service at 1 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church in Versailles. Internment will be in Lexington, Va.

Most Popular Stories