Thorold, ONT — August 11, 2009 – By Jim Irvine, Merrittville Speedway PR Director
*Alex Bruce Photo
Merrittville Speedway and the entire DIRTcar Racing family is saddened to learn of the passing early this morning of Bob St. Amand Sr., a long-time Merrittville Pit Steward, 1972 Modified Points Champion and 2002 Inductee into the Thorold track’s L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame after a sudden illness.
Known to many as Bob Sr., St. Aman had been involved in the sport of stock car racing since he was 14 years old after becoming interested while seeing race cars in his neighbourhood.
In 1958, Bob got his start in the former Jalopy Division, racing the J-21 at 21 years of age.
Moving up the ranks, Bob won the Hobby Stock points title at Ransomville Speedway in 1964 followed up with 6-Cylinder Sportsman titles at Humberstone Speedway in 1965 and then back-to-back in 1967 and ‘68.
After changing to the familiar #30, Bob was awarded Rookie of the Year at Merrittville, Humberstone and Ransomville Speedways before winning Merrittville’s Modified Championship in 1972 – by just five points over runner-up Jeno Begolo.
While still racing at Ransomville, Bob became Pit Steward at Merrittville until retiring from driving altogether in 1976.
Bob’s involvement in the sport both as a driver and official covered the Kavanagh and Russell families’ ownership of Merrittville to the Friesen and Uhl years, the Ley, Bates and Pickles group to the Irvines, and the Bicknell and Williamsons of today.
Bob’s children Bob Jr. and Colleen, followed their dad’s involvement becoming officials while Barbara, Sue and Cheryl are long-time fans.
Bob Jr. has served as Merrittville’s Race Director since 1987 while Colleen is involved in Timing and Scoring in both Stock Cars and Karts.
In 2002, Bob was inducted into the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame at Merrittville Speedway.
Bob St. Amand co-owned and operated the family business L. St. Amand Enterprises of St. Catharines with his brother Pat and son Bob Jr.
Bob leaves behind his wife Kim, brothers Pat and Bill, children Colleen, Barbara, Bob Jr., Cheryl and Susan, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, family and friends.
Bob was predeceased by first wife Sue and second Colleen.
Calling hours will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, and 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at the George Darte Funeral Home (905/937-4444), 585 Carleton Street in St. Catharines, Ontario. The funeral will be 12:30 p.m. on Friday at the George Darte Chapel.