07/28/2011 8:27AM

Mel Lawson, member of Canadian Hall of Fame, dies at 88


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mel Lawson, an Ontario owner and breeder who is a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, died Wednesday afternoon in Burlington’s Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital at age 88. Lawson, who had been in the Thoroughbred racing business for almost 50 years, raced and bred under the nom du course Jim Dandy Stable. He had been suffering from a variety of ailments and had been hospitalized for several months.

His top runners through the years included the champions Eternal Search, who was voted Canada’s top filly or mare in 1982 and 1983; Let’s Go Blue, older male, 1986; and Ginger Gold, 2-year-old filly, 2001.

His broodmare Destroy, a daughter of Eternal Search, was the 2010 Sovereign Award winner in her category after foaling stakes winners Smokey Fire, Utterly Cool, and Ghost Fleet, all trained here by Sid Attard.

Lawson was a daily presence for 62 years at his family-run business, Lawson Lumber, before retiring due to health issues in December of 2008.

He also was a prominent athlete who quarterbacked the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Wildcats to a Grey Cup victory in 1943 and played junior hockey at the top level for the Toronto Marlboros.

Lawson’s survivors include his wife of 63 years, Barbara; daughter Dana; and sons David and Jim, who is an owner and chief steward of the Jockey Club of Canada.

Visitation is at Smith’s Funeral Home, 485 Brant Street, Burlington, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday.

A private family service and interment will be held Friday.