John Regalbuto (Baltimore Sun / April 16, 2012)

John R. Regalbuto Sr., a retired contractor who had been a jockey at Maryland racetracks, died of Alzheimer's disease April 11 at Stella Maris Hospice. The former Essex resident was 80.

Born in Vineland, N.J., he was raised on his family's small farm. Friends and family encouraged him to become a jockey, and he practiced at local farms. News articles often noted that his brother, Joseph Anthony Regalbuto, also rode horses.

In 1948, he made his debut at Monmouth Park in New Jersey aboard Hasty Mabel.

While at the Maryland State Fair at Timonium on Labor Day in 1949, he met his future wife, Ilene McPherson. He could not write and had a friend send her a letter, which he signed. They married the following December.

Mr. Regalbuto also rode at Bel Air, Cumberland, Marlboro, Hagerstown, Bowie, Pimlico and Laurel. After retiring from racing, he became a trainer. He later had a home improvement business in the Rosedale area.

Mr. Regalbuto was also a skilled carpenter and hobby craftsman. He made garden figures and birdhouses. He was also a scale modeler and created architectural pieces for clients, including the Howard Johnson chain of restaurants.

Services were private.

Survivors include his son, John R. Regalbuto Jr. of Timonium; a daughter, Joyce Hogan of Essex; a brother, Vito Regalbuto of Lutherville; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. His wife of 58 years died in 2006.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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