October 23, 1948 – April 11, 2021
It is with great sadness that that we announce the passing of Clarence W. Marzolf on April 11, 2021 at the St. Boniface Hospital Acute Care Cardiac Unit with his wife Susan, and brother-in-law, Charles, at his side. He fought so hard to live but sadly his body could not go on. We will miss his zest for life, his curiosity and his love and friendship and his generosity.
Clarence was predeceased by his parents, Fred and Frieda Marzolf. He is survived by Susan, his wife of 48 years; brother Mervin (Sylvia); nephew Doug (Angie); niece Nakella (Graeme) and all their children; many cousins, including his best friend, Wallie; as well as brothers- and sisters-in-law Charles, Richard (Judith), Michele (David) and Robin (Rick).
Clarence was born in Russell, Manitoba and grew up in the surrounding area of Inglis and Silverton, Manitoba. He attended Major Pratt School in Russell excelling in sports, setting many records in track and field.
Growing up on a farm was hard work but Clarence still found time for mischief with his brother, including once having a ‘snowball fight’ with rotten eggs. He learned many skills on the farm that served him well later in life - from having his own trap line to learning how to make or fix almost anything. Using work horses on the farm when he was a kid developed into a lifelong love of them and he competed in chariot races at the Russel Fair in his teens. He finally found his in, when his brother came back from BC with two horses. It wasn’t long before Clarence was spending all his time at the Assiniboia Downs Racetrack. Not only did this cement his connection to horses, it was also where he met Sue. This was the beginning of their 49 inseparable years together. They were married in 1973 and spent the next 40 years breeding, training and racing thoroughbreds from their property in Woodlands, MB.
Good years and poor years are the nature of the racing game, and the best year for Little Rock Acres came in 1999. That year, Clarence and Sue earned several major awards for their horses Black Knickers and Cache Lake. Clarence was so very proud of the horses.
Beyond his own work, Clarence also gave back to the industry that provided him with so much joy, serving as a Director on the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Manitoba Division for several years.
Upon retiring from active training in 2009, Clarence passed the reins to Marvin and Deb Buffalo and then in 2012, he completely retired from racing. Even in his retirement, racing was in his blood. He loved to go to the track, watch the races and visit with friends. The track was the foundation of many of Clarence’s lifelong friendships, and Sue’s.
As a teenager, Clarence overcame the first of his health battles when he fought and won against Hodgkin’s disease by taking many cobalt treatments when radiation therapy was in its infancy.
In 2014 he faced further serious health issues with his heart and a lung. Again, Clarence fought back and survived.
His early brush with serious illness gave Clarence and incredible zest for life. He was fiery, curious and loved people. Clarence’s generosity knew no bounds. He would help anyone. He was a very social person, loved to dance and loved country music. As Gump once said ‘he loved to visit!’
Clarence shared with Sue a passion for lake life, building their own cabin at Cache Lake, Farlane, Ontario on the family property. Together they fished and enjoyed the natural beauty of the area. He was full of gratitude for the multitude of friends and family that helped realize their dream. Clarence and Sue were able to spend most of their summers there the last few years. He was never happier than when he was at the lake.
In the winter a few years back, Clarence decided they should have some warmer digs, and their last four winters were spent in Osoyoos, B.C. They met the best people there – second to none – and Sue would like to thank all of them for helping them get home in a rush this season!
Clarence could turn a hand to anything he wanted to do. He was a barber/stylist, drove truck, operated a greenhouse for 15 years on the farm in Woodlands and raised registered Limousine cattle. He loved carpentry and wood working. His first carpentry job as a young man was helping to build the Russell drive-in theatre. When there wasn’t a chore to take care of, Clarence would turn his skills to creating art for himself and those around him.
He was particularly close to his brother Mervin, sharing interests like hunting and fishing. He was also close with his cousin Wallie, arguing politics and a multitude of building projects. Wallie was instrumental in their cottage and home renovations. To him, Clarence and Sue owe a tremendous amount of debt and gratitude. In 2014, when Clarence was recovering from his health issues in the middle of house renos, Wallie not only completed the job but looked after Clarence while Sue was working.
Over the past couple of years Clarence and Sue were fortunate to be able to do a little travelling overseas. They saw many places, but how he loved Ireland!
Clarence made many friends over the years - too many to count - but very special ones are from their 32 years living the Woodlands area. Special thanks to the Denny Procter family for their friendship.
Some of Clarence’s great friends have passed and some are still with us. If indeed there is another dimension up there, he will be with his good friends Ken, John and Stan, having a laugh and talking horses! And, maybe even having a few games of cards. Clarence and Sue had such fun times with Ken and Ruth, John and Angela and Stan and Donna.
He missed visiting with Diane and Doug in Florida, hitting a basket of golf balls with Doug. He enjoyed spending time with his special nephew and niece and their families.
Someone once said “I will send them without wings so no one will know they are angels.” If that is so, he is surrounded by his horses and dogs. Although he cared for all creatures, those were his top two.
The family would like to thank the staff and physicians of Ward 6A south, and the ACCU for their care and compassion. Also, to his personal family physician, Dr. Stephan Coyle for his care and understanding over the years.
Somewhere…somewhere in times own space. There must be some sweet pastured place where creeks sing on and tall trees grow. Some paradise where horses go. For by the love that guides my pen, I know great horses live again.
I have lost the love of my life and my best friend. He is with me every day and is no longer suffering. I love you. Hug Hooter for me. Till we meet again.
The hoofs of the horses! — Oh! witching and sweet
Is the music earth steals from the iron-shod feet;
No whisper of lover, no trilling of bird
Can stir me as hoofs of the horses have stirred.
When you lay me to slumber no spot you can choose
But will ring to the rhythm of galloping shoes,
And under the daisies no grave be so deep
But the hoofs of the horses shall sound in my sleep.
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