Southern IL harness racing legend Leo Burns dies at 98 | Sports & Recreation
The oldest man ever to win a harness race has died. Southern Illinois legend Leo Burns, who was 97 when he drove his eight-year-old mare Winsome Wyoming to victory at the Wayne County Fair last year, passed away just before midnight Saturday at Wabash General Hospital.
Burns had more than 450 career wins and is credited with earnings of over $400,000 over nearly five decades of racing. Leo was a member of the Illinois Harness Racing Association, the U.S. Trotting Association, and the Albion Moose Lodge.
He was born February 21, 1915 in Tama, Iowa to William Dowell and Dessee Westerfield. He married Marjorie Mann on June 12, 1946. She died September 22, 2003.
Survivors include two sons Douglas Vavra and his wife Carolyn of Laurel, Iowa and Ed Burns of Marshalltown, Iowa; 5 grandchildren, and several great grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at Nale’s Funeral Home in Albion.
A graveside service will be conducted at 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 19, 2012 at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens in Marshalltown, Iowa.