Mr. Doug Schembri (1949 - 2010)

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    - Bev DeFlorio
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    - Betsy Groner
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    - Claudia Reiff

World-renown horseman Doug Schembri died Tuesday morning while working on his 60-acre Myakka City farm. He was 61.

Mr. Schembri, who owned Char-O-Lot Ranch with his wife Susan, was fixing a water pump at about 9:30 a.m. when he collapsed and fell into a nearby pond. The cause of death was heart disease.

Mr. Schembri is survived by his wife, Susan, and children Sean, 23, of Myakka City, and Jenifer, 38, of Sarasota.

In a statement released to the Bradenton Herald on Wednesday, son and daughter called their father the finest horseman in the equine community.

"He was admired and respected by all who knew him," they wrote. "What people may not realize is that he had an amazing commitment to his family - to his wife and his children. No matter what, we came first."

Throughout his more than 40 year career as a horse breeder, trainer, rehabilitator and salesman, Mr. Schembri won national and international championships for his Quarter, Appaloosa and Paint horses.

Friends and family described him as a humble, hard-working equestrian, never seen without sporting his favorite brown cowboy boots, T-shirt, jeans and Char-O-Lot baseball cap.

His horses were treated like royalty, said veterinarian Bill Whitler, who has worked at Char-O-Lot with Mr. Schembri for about five years. "He was passionate and compassionate about them."

To horse owners across the county, he was a friend.

As of Wednesday, funeral arrangements were pending.
Published in The Bradenton Herald from Aug. 19 to Sept. 12, 2010
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