Memorial Service Set Tuesday For Cleveland's Skeeter Johnston

Trampled By Horse During Florida Practice

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A memorial service is set for Tuesday for Cleveland's Skeeter Johnston, a leading figure in international polo who died Thursday night from injuries from being trampled by a horse. He was 53.

It will be at the Johnston's farm in Everglades, Fla.

A graduate of Eckerd College, Mr. Johnston was a former vice-president of Coca-Cola Enterprises, spending more than 27 years with the industry. His great-grandfather, J.F. Johnston, headed the Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Skeeter Johnston was also a board member of the Krystal Company, MetalTek International, and e-Skye Solutions.

He had played polo for more than 35 years.

Mr. Johnston is survived his wife, Leslie Buttram Johnston, and daughter Louisa; parents, Mr. and Mrs. Summerfield K. Johnston Jr; sisters, Katherine Johnston Tudor, Lavinia Johnston, Gillian Johnston; and brother, Robert Johnston, and his nieces and nephews.

His family is requesting that all memorials for his life be sent to the Polo Training Foundation, 70 Clinton Street, Tully, New York, 13159 or to the charity of the donor's choice.

Funeral plans have not been announced.

The tragic accident happened during a practice game at the family's Everglades farm in Wellington, Fla.

He had been flown by helicopter to Delray Beach Medical Center.

He had surgery to relieve swelling of the brain, but he remained in a coma as his family gathered around.

After lying gravely ill with multiple injuries, he was taken off life support at his family's request, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

He had suffered two broken legs, a broken pelvis, dislocated hip and broken jaw when he fell from his horse and the horse rolled on to him. The newspaper said he was unconscious and lying face down when he was taken from the field.

Born Summerfield Johnston III, but known by his nickname Skeeter, he was the son of Summerfield Johnston Jr., former CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises.

He had competed in three U.S. Open polo finals, including in 2005.

His sister, Jillian Johnston, is also a leading polo figure.

Many polo matches have been played at the family's Bendabout Farm near Cleveland.

Skeeter Johnston was co-founder of the North American Polo League and principal partner in the new high-goal polo facility, the Flying H Polo Club in Wyoming.

He was a player and sponsor for the Skeeterville team.


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