Manzi remembers Normoyle
MONTICELLO, N.Y./John Manzi -- Life's funny.And sometimes it "ain't" fair.
On Saturday, Feb. 16 I will be attending a funeral Mass for my longtime friend Jim Normoyle
, who succumbed to cancer on February 9th . .His
passing, at age 66, not only shocked me but all who knew him.Just a few months ago-in early October- Jim
beloved trotter, Jacpot Dol, to back to back victories here at the Mighty M. And it wasn't more than a month after that that he
learned of his
never let on to his
friends how sick he
No Jim wasn't a professional harness driver.He
did , however, have a full license.He
was a sportsman, whose love of harness racing was paramount to him over the last 25 years of his
was a professional man who retired a few years ago upon selling his
radio station.With that sale he
had all the money he
ever would have needed to enjoy his
retirement.For five years, or so, he
life to the fullest . but, health doesn't care if you're rich or poor.And all the money in the world doesn't replace good health.
To say that Jim
was a great guy was an understatement.He
was the best.Jim
was a sport, often treating his
friends to dinner or a Broadway Show.And though he
had the means his
outpouring of kindness was genuine.While at his radio station –WSUS-FM in Franklin, NJ- he was a giver by supporting hundreds of area non-profit agencies and organizations and was a board director of several.
was a family man. Married for 43 years, he
, and his
wife, Terry, enjoyed every moment, especially their four lovely daughters and their two grandchildren.
A native of Astoria, Queens, Jim
was a veteran of the U.S. Navy
serving in the Korean War.His
entire professional career was spent in the entertainment and media professions.He worked as an announcer, disc-jockey, and sales director at a number of radio stations on New York, New Jersey , Pennsylvania and Virginia.In 1972 he joined WSUS-FM in Franklin,NJ and over a quarter of a century there went from sales director to general manager to owner of the northeastern New Jersey pop-rock radio station.
It was in the mid-1970's that I first met Jim Normoyle
, who also went professionally by the name of Jay Edwards.
I'm proud to say that I was instrumental in getting Jay, ehr, Jim
, involved in harness racing.
And what had begun with selling advertisements about harness racing turned into a lifetime passion for Jim
.Initially, through his affiliation with the radio station he became a member of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), and eventually served seven years as president of the organization.
Then in the early 1980's I asked him to drive in races for media personnel as a promotional stunts at Monticello Raceway and Goshen Historic Track.That's all it took.Jim
became hooked on the sport. He
later purchased a race horse and, being a hands-on guy, set out to obtain a drivers license since harness racing had become such a passion with him. He
did all the background work needed and obtained a license to drive harness horses.Then Jim began driving in matinee races and became an amateur driver.
represented the United States competing against his
counterparts in Europe and Canada..Even after obtaining his
full license Jim
maintained amateur status.
In the early 1990's he
added to his
stable of racehorses and began breeding and raising colts from his
own stock.And he
devoted much more time to harness racing driving his
stock whenever he
expanded on his
endeavors after retiring from business in the late 1990's.
At the time of his
owned five or six horses with his
racing stock being handled by his
friend Johnny DeSimone Jr.
greatest pleasures was driving against and beating professional reinsmen in wagering races at Monticello Raceway and Pocono Downs.He
especially enjoyed competing against drivers he
idolized.And over the years he
drove many winners.
...In 1994 Jim was the recipient of the Monticello-Goshen USHWA chapter's "Good Guy Award". and was planning to run for second vice president for the National organization of USHWA before his illness.
residence in Franklin, NJ he
had a condo in the Florida Keys where he
enjoyed time on his
boat deep-sea fishing.And during his
winters in the Keys he
participated in area theater.He
also was a classic car enthusiast restoring dozens of award winning 1950's vintage autos.
began a career as a restaurateur opening the successful Columbo's Italian Restaurant in Otisville.
I lost a dear friend with his
passing, but Jim Normoyle
will be sorely missed by all who had the distinct pleasure of knowing him.
More To Life in seventh straight
MONTICELLO, N.Y./John Manzi -- More To Life notched his
seventh-consecutive victory winning the first race Feb. 10 at Monticello Raceway.The seven-year-old altered son of Life Sign turned back five others with a wire to wire performance scoring by three lengths over Laughem Silly, pacing the final quarter mile in :28:3 en route to a 1:57.3 victory.