July 27, 1931 -- July 5, 2017

Dwayne Pletcher, 85, of Shipshewana, passed away on July 5, 2017 at 11:45 pm
at Parkview LaGrange Hospital. Dwayne was one of the nation’s top drivers and
developers of colts and a member of one of Chicago’s most famous harness
racing families. Dwayne was born in Goshen on July 27, 1931 to Lester and
Irma Pletcher. He drove his first race the day before he turned 15 in 1946 at the
Cassopolis, MI county fair, where in three heats with P.J. Volo he finished 2-2-1,
his first win. He graduated from Shipshewana High School in 1949 and served
in the US Army as a sergeant in Korea. Upon his return he resumed harness
racing as his career and passion. Dwayne has won 1,477 races in his lifetime,
including the Sportsman’s Park Midwest Derby three times with Transient in
1966, Teffe in 1970 and Overcast in 1973. Chaw, 1972 Illinois Horse of the Year,
was campaigned by Dwayne. Others in the long line of top horses he’s handled
include, Pacing Boy, Pepe Dancer, Shady Counsel, Right Honor, Galahad,
Nemma Hanover, Sherry’s Honor, H.D. Counsel, Shady Mile, Sluf, Tuit and
stakes winning Butter Up, Vieta, Miss Yankee Doodle and Perfect Illusion.
Dwayne was the leading driver at Maywood Park in 1958, and 8th in the
National Rating in 1959. He was a member of the Illinois Harness Horseman’s
Association, the Indiana Standardbred Association, and the United States
Trotting Association. Dwayne raced in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio,
Kentucky, New York Pennsylvania and California. He mentored both of his
sons, Steve and Jeff, who also made harness racing their life’s work. Dwayne
was preceded in death by his father Lester, mother Irma and brother Donald. He
is survived by his wife of 63 years, Areta, two sons Steve (Vickie) Pletcher and
Jeff Pletcher, all of Shipshewana, grandson Brett (Amber) Pletcher and great
grandchildren, Ethan, Landon and Bailey Pletcher of Topeka and brother
Delmer Pletcher of Howe. No services will be held. Please send condolences to
PO Box 6, Shipshewana or donations to the Food and Clothes Basket in
LaGrange in Dwayne’s name.

~  ~  ~  ~  Online Condolences  ~  ~  ~  ~

Steve and Vik, So very sorry for your lost. This is the hard parts of life and
doesn't get easier for sure. Your Dad was great Man and I'll never forget him
letting me off of responsibility for hitting the back of his truck you were driving
when the Brakes went out on my car. Best too you and hope to see you around
From: Doug Wright
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Sorry for the loss, I think Dwayne was a big influence on me being involved in
harness racing in the winter when school was canceled I would ride my bike
through 2 feet of snow just to hang out with Dwayne.
From: Ben Yoder
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Steve, Vik, and Jeff.  My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.  
Your dad was always someone who would come up and talk to me and make
me feel important even though I was just a kid when I first met him.  And
throughout the years he would always speak when I saw him.  He was a great
horseman and someone who will be missed.
From: Kevin Mack
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Dwayne was such a kind loving man. I truly appreciate his effort to help me &
Darcy all the time with colts. My keystone Nordic was a handful & Dwayne was
so kind to help with him. Many prayers to his family
From: Ricka Odonnell
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So sorry to hear about your loss, our thoughts and prayer are with you and
your family during this difficult time.
From: Mike & Colleen Bontrager
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My heart goes out to the all of Pletcher Family, we all will miss him he always
had a kind word and a great smile, if I can find a case of "Schlitz Beer" I will be
toasting 24 of them to my friend. RIP Dwayne!
From: William "Chilly" Saulters
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He was a great horseman, plus a downright good human- being,
RIP dear friend
From: Les & Jean Banks
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Thoughts and prayers are with Areta and family with Dwayne's passing. Many
exciting Saturday race days in Chicago watching Dwayne at the track. Always
enjoyed talking to my older cousin who was respected by his racing peers and
competitors.  Good memories.
From: Ron Hooley
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Steve and Vickie, Sending gentle thoughts and prayers your way at this difficult
time. You have our deepest sympathy.
From: Ron and Tina Kauffman
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Thinking of you during this time. Many,many fond memories of our two families
From: Larry & Jean Wenger
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Dwayne was a great friend and a great man.
My sincerest condolences and deepest sympathies to Areta, Steve and Jeff and
the entire Pletcher family
From: Kim and Sherie Hankins
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Many fond memories.....in the 60's we would watch the races at Maywood
Sportsman's Park, go back in the barn area, then to the apartment for pizza &
the kids would swim.  In the 80's, we lived in Dallas and would fly to St. Louis
and drive to DuQuoin to the State Fair.  We'd stay with my sister, Areta, and
Dwayne in their mobile home. We enjoyed the races, the fair & curly fries.  
Dwayne let me jog one of his horses.  That was a BIG thrill for me.  Many fond
memories of our dear Dwayne.  He is Home now, at Peace, and with our Lord.
From: Bob & Barb Via
Dwayne J. Pletcher