Gary E. Lucas
October 20, 1940 – September 22, 2020
On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, Gary Earl Lucas passed away peacefully following a courageous battle with renal cancer at the age of 79. Gary was born in October of 1940 in Carroll, Iowa to Earl and Beulah Lucas and graduated from Audubon High School in 1958. He received his Bachelor’s degree in 1962 from Simpson College, where he majored in Biology, played football as defensive lineman and met Joan, his wife of 57 years.
Gary began his career with Burrows Welcome as a pharmaceutical sales representative and later worked for Laverty Sprayers in Indianola. He purchased Indianola Feed Co., in the 1970s and grew the business to one of the top feed dealers in the Midwest. In 1987 (the day the market crashed, yes true) he began his career as a stock broker for Piper Jaffray and within four years was Vice President of Investments. Gary Retired from Piper Jaffray in 2006 after which he enjoyed spending more time fishing at his Birch Lake cabin in Hackensack, Minnesota.
Gary’s true passion, however, was breeding, raising and racing thoroughbred horses and he was instrumental in establishing and promoting horse racing in Iowa. He was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad to the original board that developed legislation to allow pari-mutual wagering, and he supported Prairie Meadows Racetrack not only for the joy of racing but to promote growth for Iowa breeders and create new jobs throughout the state.
He started Big Pine Thoroughbreds and loved nothing more than carefully studying pedigrees and watching the colts and fillies that resulted from the breedings he designed, grow and run on his farm. If they won on the track, that was even better. Iowa Champions Bay Cruiser and Champagne Attitude were among his many stakes winners but One Fine Shweetie was his pride and joy. Herself a two-time Iowa Champion on the racetrack, she also became an outstanding broodmare, producing stakes winners including One Fine Dream and Awesomemundo. One Fine Shweetie was inducted into the Prairie Meadows hall of fame in 2017.
Gary served on the advisory committee for Iowa State University’s department of animal science and held offices for the Iowa Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA), and was chairman of the Racing Association of Central Iowa (RACI). He also served as Chairman of the Board at Prairie Meadows where he advocated for installing the slot machines that increased Iowa revenue and allowed for larger purses which attracted higher quality horses and further stimulated the Iowa breeding industry. Gary was inducted into the Prairie Meadows Hall of Fame in 2005.
Gary was preceded in death by his daughter Robin, his mother, Beulah and his father, Earl. He is survived by his wife, Joan, his daughter, Brooke, his brother, Joe, his three grandchildren, Madison and Mckinze Elliott and Jaden Nagy, two nephews, Bret and Van Lucas and his niece, Lane Lucas. He will be incredibly missed by his family.
A memorial service will be held in November. Information to follow at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), a fund set up specifically to assist Prairie Meadows horsemen with health related issues or who have fallen on hard times: Iowa HBPA; Mail to IA HBPA P.O. Box 1000 Altoona, IA 50009, or The Kidney Cancer Association, 9450 SW Gemini Drive #38269 Beaverton, Oregon 97008-7105 or www.kidneycancer.org.