Clark Shipley, 61, dies

Columbus, OH — Clark Shipley, 61, a longtime member of the John Madden Sales family, died Aug. 22, 2020, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y.

Clark Shipley died Aug. 22, 2020.

Mr. Shipley grew up in rural Iowa, learning about horses through the world of harness racing. He had horses in his blood and went to work for his uncle, Iowa Harness Racing Hall of Famer Mike Arnold. Eventually he struck out on his own, racing and training Standardbreds, where he met his longtime girlfriend Sue Schlegel.

He joined the JMS family in the early 1990s and often joked about how he was hired. In his own words, “What I tell people is that they wanted Sue so bad, they took me. I was the ‘player to be named later’ in the baseball trade,” he would say.

But of course he became the behind the scenes background of the team. He brought the balance and the fun to the high pressure moments that come with international travel and high stakes competitions. With top horses like Authentic, Simon, Breitling and countless more under his care, he traveled the world, bringing his common sense attitude along.

Mr. Shipley was known for his love of dogs, Harley Davidson motorcycles, Dr. McGillicuddy’s Mentholmint, and quiet mornings in his chair in the barn, drinking his coffee and reading the paper. He was always quick with a joke or story, often inappropriate, and not shy about sharing his opinion. He loved the horses best of all.

Even after a lifetime of experience he would speak about how a horseman is always learning, saying to the Chronicle, “you meet a lot of people and see a lot of different things and ways of doing things everywhere you go. If you ever think you know everything, you’re in trouble. You can always learn something.”

He is survived by his longtime companion, Sue Schlegel; sister, Grace (Ray) Butterfield; brothers, Larry (Betty), Richard “Butch” (Julie) and Terry (Lydia); uncle, Michael (Jill) Arnold; as well as several nieces, nephews and close friends.

If you had the honor of knowing him, take a shot of Doctor or Jack Daniels tonight and take an extra quiet moment at night check or morning feed to appreciate the horses and dogs in your life.

There are no services.

Memorial contributions may be made to Helping Hounds Dog Rescue, 7268 Caswell St., North Syracuse, NY 13212 or online at

Condolences for the family may be left at

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