There were quite a few Virginia horsemen with connections spanning back to the 1980’s at the memorial service held for Verne Hosta a few Saturday’s back -- Wilson, Hardin, Hughes, Poulson, Evans, Yovanovich and Lawley-Wakelin to name a few.
Verne was a friend and a business associate. He was an avid horsemen and then an avid deep sea fisherman. When his son was born he turned his free time to golf, gardening and wine. He took me to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club the first time I was fortunate enough to play there. He seemed amused when my good friend who he also kindly hosted called him “Van” most of the day instead of “Verne.” We went to dinner that night at the Blue Ridge Seafood Restaurant, and Verne had quail…It’s funny what you remember…
He also very kindly hosted a terminally ill friend of a friend of mine who wanted to play the famous home of the President’s Cup. I couldn’t get the story all the way out, before he interrupted and said, “Of course.” He was that kind of guy.
When he was working he was a damn good lawyer. He played a huge role in how sales and use taxes on Thoroughbreds here in Virginia would be interpreted and collected over the years. His efforts on behalf of Buckland and Lazy Lane, to name just a few, helped preserve those famous nurseries and many others. In addition, he was a great advocate of land conservation and preservation, and his efforts in that area were tireless and most effective as well.
His passing at 58 from some crazy disease that only eight of one million people ever get was simply tragic.
Back in the late 80’s Verne gave me some advice that I actually had the wisdom (in hindsight) to follow. At the time, I think I was simply doing what someone I respected suggested I do. Thankfully, I didn’t “over think it.” I just did it…It was brilliant advice, and it changed my life very dramatically. I had long acknowledged that what he told me to do had a positive impact on me and how my life turned out, but I had forgotten who had sent me down the path. I remembered on my way to the Hosta’s beautiful home for the service.
I also remembered that I never thanked him for his sage advice. And that I will regret until we meet again.
I hope there are racehorses, bill fish, great golf courses and much fine wine in heaven. If so, Verne is gonna do just fine.