Columbus, OH — Former USTA director Robert C. Sidley, age 87, passed away Nov. 24, 2022, surrounded by his family at Tri Point Medical Center in Concord Township, Ohio. He was born December 30, 1934, in Thompson, Ohio to Robert W. and Edith (Cooper) Sidley.
Mr. Sidley attended Madison High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Case Institute of Technology, in Cleveland, in 1955. Following college, he joined the United States Air Force and earned his wings in 1957. He served as a Second Lieutenant. In 1958, he married Paulann Fisk from Mars, Pa., and they were married 64 years. He was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Painesville.
Mr. Sidley is survived by his sons: Robert P. (Sandra) and Michael (Geta); six grandchildren, Cassandra (Aaron Shenker), Caitlin (Cristian Rosu), Robert L. (Jessica Noll) Sidley, and Robert (Pamela), Michael (Kimberly) and Alan (Jess) Calkins; great-grandchildren, Remme, Reed, Rowe, Zelda, Elizabeth and Ethan; and a brother, Arthur.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Joe; sisters, Jan Sidley and Carolyn Martin.
As CEO of R.W. Sidley, Inc., he served the family business for over 44 years. Even beyond his retirement in 2002, he continued to work for his father’s company for many more years.
His first community involvement was with the Lake County Fair Board, when he finished his father’s term in 1961. He was a director until 2009, when he became director emeritus. He served as president from 1965-1976. Mr. Sidley was also active in the Ohio Ready Mix Concrete Association, serving on the Board of Directors and as president from 1986-1988. He was also a member of the Young President’s Organization. In 2022, he received the Ohio Concrete Association’s William R. Feltz Lifetime Achievement Award. He also served as a director for the National Ready Mix Association.
His involvement in the Standardbred horse business was monumental, statewide, nationally and internationally. As president of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association from 1975-1977, he was responsible for growing the organization. Nationally, he was a director of the United States Trotting Association for over 30 years, and he also served as their treasurer for over 15 years. Internationally, Mr. Sidley served as president of Harness Horsemen International from 1980-1983, and in 1983, he was named their “Man of the Year.” He received many Hall of Fame awards: Madison High School in 1999, Ohio Harness Racing in 2003, Northfield Park in 2007, Lake County Fair in 2010, and Ohio Fair Managers in 1999, to name a few.
In 2003, Mr. Sidley received the Dr. John P. Stevens Humanitarian Award, the City of Painesville honored him as Citizen of the Year in 1997, and he also received the President’s Award from the U.S. Trotting Association in 2010.
Over a 50-year span, Mr. Sidley was the breeder of 597 horses. Since 1972, he and his wife, Polly, owned and operated Northern Farms in Painesville. He enjoyed racing his prodigies at county fairs and racetracks in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Indiana.
Family and friends will be received from 3-8 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 2) at Spear Mulqueeny Funeral Home, 667 Mentor Avenue, Painesville, Ohio. The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday (Dec. 3) at St. Mary Catholic Church, 242 North State St., in Painesville. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Sidley’s memory may be sent to Hospice of the Western Reserve, P.O. Box 72101, Cleveland, OH 44192.