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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Brice Carr
Marketing & Communications Manager

Longtime Saddlebred Trainer and Judge Passes Away

Lexington, Kentucky - Rex Parkinson, a longtime trainer of Saddlebreds, and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) judge, passed away on Monday, June 21, at the age of 88. 

Parkinson was born on October 15, 1921, in Peoria, Illinois, son of Fred and Mary Floy (Morrow) Parkinson. Parkinson was a World War II veteran, having served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from October of 1942 through December of 1945. He was also a prominent trainer of American Saddlebreds, training such horses throughout his career as CHBurning Tree's Fantasy, CHTechnistar, 
CHRambling Stonewall, and many others.

In addition to training Saddlebreds, Parkinson trained Hackney Ponies, Roadster Horses, and Morgans. He served on the board of the United Professional Horseman's Association (UPHA) for 15 years, was a 1994 inductee into the UPHA Hall of Fame, and recipient of the organization's Distinguished Service Award. Parkinson was also an inductee into the Kentucky State Fair Horse Show Hall of Fame, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Mid-West Hackney Association and the American Hackney Horse Society. He served as President of the American Saddlebred Breeders Association of Illinois, as well as on the organization's board for many years. Other boards on which Parkinson served include the Mid-West Hackney Association, Midwest Horse Show Association, Illinois State Fair Advisory Board, and American Road Horse and Pony Association, for which he also served as President. 
Parkinson also held a USEF judge's card for 45 years, and in 1998 received the Outstanding Judge's Career Award.

Parkinson was preceded in death by his parents, along with brothers Max Parkinson and Bob Parkinson, and sister, Jane Challacombe. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Shirley Simcox, of Decatur, Illinois; daughter, Vicki Whitmer and her husband Bob, of Mt. Zion; brother, Stuart Parkinson and his wife Phyllis of Springfield, Illinois, step grandson, Bobby Whitmer and his wife Stephanie; step great grandchildren, Katie and Jonathon Whitmer of Decatur; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be at 11 AM on Thursday, June 24, 2010, at Dawson & Wikoff Funeral Home in Mt. Zion, Illinois. Burial will be in Point Pleasant Cemetery with full military honors provided by the Macon County Honor Guard. Memorials may be made to the UPHA Benevolent Fund, American Hackney Horse Association, American Saddlebred Horse Association or to Millikin University.

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