Breeder/owner Henry Tompkins “Duffy” Rathbun died March 19 in Cape Coral, Fla., from complications following a heart attack. He was 87.
Rathbun and his wife, Sheilah, owned a 30-acre farm near Middleburg, Va., where they maintained a small broodmare band. Together and separately, they were represented as breeders by seven stakes winner, four of which they raced, including graded winner Miss Otis. Her victory came in the 1992 Noble Damsel Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park.
Born in Elmira, N.Y., Rathbun served on a Navy destroyer during World War II. He later was a founding partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm Wilmer, Cutler, & Pickering. He was a 1944 graduate of Amherst College, and he graduated from law school at the University of Virginia in 1948.
He clerked for Judge John J. Parker, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Charlotte, before moving to the Washington area in 1955, where he began practicing law.
In 1987, he moved to his farm in Middleburg and became active in the preservation of Virginia farmland. He was on the board of directors of the conservation group Land Trust of Virginia and a member of the Goose Creek Association, a nonprofit group formed to protect the Goose Creek Watershed in Northern Virginia. He also belonged to the Chevy Chase Club and the Metropolitan Club.
With his wife, he ran a thoroughbred breeding and racing operation, which they began in 1955, the same year they won their first race at the Laurel racecourse.
Rathbun is survived by a son, Gordon, and daughters Jennie and Sheila.