George A. Smith, an Ohio breeder and owner who had a major impact on the state's racing program, has passed away at the age of 84 at Kettering Medical Center after a sudden illness.
The 110-acre Woodburn Farm near Centerville, Ohio, of Smith and Wilbur Johnston became one of the most prominent Thoroughbred facilities in the Midwest and raised numerous stakes winners, state champions. and several graded stakes winners.
Smith was passionate about improving the quality of the Ohio breeding program and served as president of the Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners in 1978-79 and was a governor appointee on the Thoroughbred Advisory board for many years.
Smith and Johnston brought many new owners into racing through partnerships. They prided themselves on the integrity and quality of their Woodburn Farm offerings.
Smith attended Ohio State University and was a three-year letterman and Captain of the Varsity Golf team. In his senior season, he led the team to the Big Ten championship by 22 strokes and was regarded to be one of the best amateur players in the nation. Many esteemed golf analysists compared him to another Ohio State Captain—the "Golden Bear" Jack Nicklaus. Sadly, after entering the Army at the age of 23, Smith contracted Polio and over the years was never able to walk again.
He went on to begin a successful career as a real estate agent specializing in land operations. In 1970 he began the partnership with Dr. Wilbur Johnston, his dentist, who played on a championship Ohio State Basketball team.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 2 at the Saint George Episcopal Church in Centerville. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, a contribution can be made in George's memory to Old Friends Farm, 1841 Paynes Depot Rd., Georgetown, Ky. 40324.