10/12/2005 11:00PM

Joseph Pons Sr. dies at 83

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Joseph Pons Sr., the patriarch of Country Life Farm in Maryland, died Wednesday morning of a heart attack at his farm, according to family members. He was 83.

Pons was a second-generation horseman whose sons Josh and Michael are both involved in Country Life and the family's Merryland Farm. Established in 1933, Country Life is the oldest still-operating Thoroughbred farm in Maryland.

According to a statement on Country Life's website, Joseph Pons died at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning while "sharing a laugh" with his wife of 55 years, Mary Jo.

Country Life was founded by Adolphe Pons, Joseph Pons's father. When Adolphe Pons died in 1951, Joseph and his brother John took over the Country Life operation. John died in 1996.

Country Life currently stands four stallions at its Maryland farm. The farm also markets racing and breeding partnerships.