Friday, July 14, 2023

1984 - Rockford Speedway's Hugh Deery, 63, Dies


Rockford, Ill. (July 14, 1984) – Hugh Deery, 63, owner and promoter of Rockford Speedway died early Saturday morning of a heart attack.

Deery, who had been the sole owner of Rockford Speedway since 1966, was stricken in a Rockford hospital where he had been since Thursday as doctors attempted to bring his blood-sugar content down. Deery went to the hospital to seek treatment for an injured shoulder that day at the racetrack.

He was born Hugh Gunnar Deery on August 18, 1920, in Calamine, Wis.

After moving to Rockford, Deery started his own insurance agency, and in 1959 became a partner in Rockford Speedway. He became the sole owner in 1966.

He was also involved in several other businesses, and he built Forest Hills Lodge adjacent to the speedway. Deery was co-founder of the National Racing Promoters Workshops held annually at several sites around the nation.

He was recipient of the Jack Dunn Memorial Award in 1983 at the National Promoters Workshop in Daytona Beach and was also Great Lakes Region “Promoter of the Year,” and he also won the National “Promoter of the Year,” Award in 1976.

On October 8, 1948, he was married to Jody Hirsbruenner. He is survived by seven sons, Dr. Hugh Gunnar Deery II, Theodore, John, Thomas, Bradford, Charles, and David; and a daughter, Susan.

In 1966, he started the National Short Track Championships at Rockford, which grew into one of the most popular and prestigious short track events in the nation.

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