Tom Gilcoyne, the retired historian at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame known for his photographic memory and sharp wit, died at the age of 91 on Jan 3.
Gilcoyne, a native of Troy, NY, attended the races at Saratoga Race Course with his family as young boy in the early 1920s, and reflected that his initial most vivid memory of racing was the 1924 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. His love affair for the sport of horse racing continued for nine decades, and Gilcoyne witnessed many of the greatest racing events of the twentieth century. In a long and illustrious career, he estimated visiting over 80 racetracks.
Gilcoyne served as the volunteer historian at the Museum from 1989 until his retiring in January 2004. During his tenure, Gilcoyne organized the Museum library, answered hundreds of questions from journalists, researchers and racing fans, served on Hall of Fame committees and wrote a column on racing history for the Museum’s newsletter. He was quoted in countless newspaper and magazine articles.
Gilcoyne is survived by his wife, Frances, of Clifton Park, N.Y., and his sister, Katharine Gilcoyne of Forest Hills, N.Y. Calling hours will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, January 6 at Dufresne & Cavanaugh Funeral Home, 149 Old Loudon Road, Latham. N.Y. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, January 7, at Our Lady of Assumption Church, Route 155, Latham.