Martha F. Gerry

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Martha F. Gerry
Born Martha B. Farish
October 20, 1918
Houston, Texas,
United States
Died September 17, 2007
New York, New York
United States
Education The Masters School
Alma mater Vassar College
Known for Owner of Forego
Political party Republican
Board member of New York Racing Association
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Spouse(s) Edward Harriman Gerry
Children Libby F., Cornelia G., Martha G., William F.
Parent(s) William Stamps Farish II
Libbie Randon Rice
Relatives William Farish III (nephew)

Martha B. Farish Gerry (October 20, 1918 – September 17, 2007) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse owner named an Exemplar of Racing by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.[1]

Early life[edit]

Martha B. Farish was born on October 20, 1918 in Houston, Texas. She was the daughter of Libbie Randon Rice and her husband, William Stamps Farish II (1881–1942), president of Standard Oil from 1937 to 1942.[2] She was raised in New York where she studied at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.[3] She was the aunt of William Stamps Farish III, the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President George W. Bush.[4]


Gerry was best known as the owner and breeder of three-time American Horse of the Year, Forego whom she raced under the Lazy F. Ranch banner.[5] In 57 starts, Forego had 34 wins, 9 seconds and 7 thirds and registered 24 stakes victories including 14 Grade 1 wins. His lifetime earnings amounted to $1,938,957.[1][6]

She was a member of The Jockey Club, a long-time trustee of the New York Racing Association and of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. In 1974, she was the recipient of the New York Turf Writers Association award as the woman who did the most for racing and was the Thoroughbred Club of America's Honored Guest of 1978. In 1983, Gerry, Allaire du Pont, and Penny Chenery became the first women to be admitted as members of The Jockey Club.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1939, she married Edward Harriman Gerry (1914–2003) at St. James Episcopal Church on Madison Avenue and Seventy-first street in New York City.[3] Gerry was the son of Robert Livingston Gerry, Sr. (1877–1957) and Cornelia Averell Harriman (1884-1966), the daughter of railroad executive E. H. Harriman and his wife Mary Williamson Averell.[8] Robert was also the nephew of Peter G. Gerry and Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt, and the grandson of Elbridge Thomas Gerry, himself the grandson of Elbridge Gerry, the 5th U.S. Vice President.[9] The Gerry's maintained residences in Monticello, Florida and Mill Neck, New York. Together, they were the parents of:[4]

  • Libby Farish Gerry[10]
  • Cornelia Harriman Gerry, who married Richard A. Corbett in 1970.[11]
  • Martha Rice Gerry, who married Frank Bradford Townley in 1978.[12]
  • William Farish Gerry (b. 1955), who married Gay Caroline Vincent, daughter of Betsy von Furstenberg in 1988.[13][14][15]

Gerry died September 17, 2007 following heart surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital, of which she had been a Life Trustee.[16] Her husband predeceased her on January 24, 2003.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Gerry owner of Forego dies at 88". Thoroughbred Times. 18 September 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  2. ^ 174 Years of Historic Houston: Who's Who - William Stamps Farish
  3. ^ a b "Miss Martha Farish Married in Ceremony At St. James to Edward Harriman Gerry; Mrs. William S. Farish Jr., Sister-in-Law, Serves as Matron of Honor--Eight Others Attend Her". The New York Times. 23 April 1939. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Miller, Stephen (September 20, 2007). "Martha Gerry, 88, Bred Forego, Great Gelding of the '70s - The New York Sun". New York Sun. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Forego: Making Them Forget About Secretariat". The Harvard Crimson. April 13, 1976. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "Forego (KY)". Equibase. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (20 September 2007). "Martha Gerry, 88, Noted Horse Owner, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  8. ^ New York Times article dated March 4, 1908
  9. ^ Staff (November 1, 1957). "Peter G. Gerry, Ex-Senator, Dies Hours Before His Brother Robert Rhode Island Democrat, 78, Was a Foe of New Deal— Supported Strong Navy". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 April 2016. 
  10. ^ Times, Special To The New York (6 July 1960). "Mrs. Coxe's Duo Takes Play-Off For Mother-Daughter Golf Title". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  11. ^ Times, Special To The New York (10 May 1970). "Cornelia Harriman Gerry Bride". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  12. ^ Times, Special To The New York (9 July 1978). "Martha Rice Gerry Is Bride". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "Miss Vincent to Wed William F. Gerry". The New York Times. 15 May 1988. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "Betsy von Furstenberg, Actress and Aristocrat, Dies at 83". Variety. April 30, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Gay Caroline Vincent, Painter, Is Wed To William Farish Gerry, Stockbroker". The New York Times. 18 September 1988. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  16. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths GERRY, MARTHA FARISH". The New York Times. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  17. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths GERRY, EDWARD HARRIMAN". The New York Times. 26 January 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2017.