Dr. Michael Colterjohn, president of Gardiner Farms near Caledon East, Ontario, Canada, died March 28 following a battle with brain cancer. He was 55.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Colterjohn lived in Malaysia, England, and Zambia before his family emigrated to Canada when he was 11. His father, Duncan, had accepted a position as a family physician.
Colterjohn grew up around horses, fostering a passion for jumping and fox hunting that inspired a career as an equine reproductive veterinarian. He joined Gardiner Farms in 1987 and helped the nursery maintain its status as one of Canada’s leading outfits.
Gardiner Farms Limited has bred numerous stakes winners including Kitty's Got Class, who won last year’s Franfreluche Stakes and Victorian Queen Stakes, both at Woodbine, for Colterjohn and Denny Andrews. Gardiner Farms Limited’s other stakes winners as breeder include Are You Serious, Bear It's Time, Cocney Lass, Legal Move, London Snow, Midnight Shadow, Rare Friends, Top Ten List, and Pender Harbour, who won last year’s classic Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine.
Gardiner Farms formerly stood Bold Executive, who topped the Canadian sires list on numerous occasions. Bold Executive died last September.
Colterjohn and his wife, Dr. Moira Gunn, in partnership with farm manager Sherry McLean, also operated Paradox Farm near Gardiner Farms.
Colterjohn was highly active outside of work, competing in numerous marathons and triathlons, including the Ironman USA in Lake Placid in 2001.
In addition to his wife, Colterjohn is survived by his mother, Libby, and a son, Duncan.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Juravinski Cancer Centre at www.jccfoundation.on.ca/.
All visitors will be welcome at the Egan Funeral Home, 201 Queen Street South (905 -857-2213), in Bolton. Visitation hours are April 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. and Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. A service for friends and family will be held at the Egan Funeral Home Chapel April 3 at 4 p.m, with a reception to follow from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Northern Dancer Room at Woodbine.