Franklin recycling business owner, horse racing handicapper dies at 81

Mar. 11—MIDDLETOWN — The former owner of a Franklin recycling business and a standardbred owner and racing handicapper has died.

Pacey Mindlin, of Middletown, former owner of Mindlin Recycling in Franklin, died Wednesday at Atrium Medical Center after a short battle with cancer. He was 81.

He owned many horses over the years and appeared on a handicapping show with track announcer Barry Vicroy before every live race at Miami Valley Raceway in Monroe. His nickname was "The Wizard."

Ken Cohen, president of Cohen Recycling headquartered in Middletown, has known Mindlin and his family his entire life, he said.

While they worked in the recycling business, they weren't competitors since Mindlin specialized in paper and Cohen in metal, he said. He described their relationship as "great friends."

Mindlin had a colorful personality with an outfit that sometimes matched. Cohen said most people didn't know Mindlin's last name.

"He was just Pacey," Cohen said. "He was everybody's friend. Everyone knew him and everyone liked him."

Another lifetime friend, Dr. Scott Zollett, called Mindlin "part of the family."

Zollett, his brother and Mindlin bought their first standardbred in 1966 for $900. Zollett and Mindlin traveled together to many horse sales and county fair races.

"He loved the horses," Zollett said. "That was him."

His nickname, "The Wizard," stuck and through his race selections and the flamboyant way he celebrated winners, his legend grew, Zollett said. When they attended the Little Brown Jug, harness racing's biggest day, several years ago, fans stopped Mindlin who gladly posed for pictures and signed autographs.

"There will never be another Pacey," Zollett said.

Rachel Lewitt, president of Temple Beth Sholom in Middletown where Mindlin was a longtime member, said she was deeply saddened to hear of his passing.

"He was smart, funny and one of a kind," she said.

Mindlin's wife of 33 years, Debbie, said he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer about six weeks ago and he said he was "up for the fight."

"Sadly," she said, "it didn't work out the way we wanted. He had quality over quantity. He loved life. He loved fun."

She said her husband followed all sports and when he walked in a room "he worked the crowd. He was such a special, special, incredible, sweet guy."

When asked what she will miss the most, she simply said: "Everything."

Then she added: "Some things I don't even realize yet."

Mindlin studied journalism at Ohio University, then returned home to take over the recycling business when his father died. He later graduated from the University of Cincinnati.

Private services are being handled by Baker-Stevens-Parramore Funeral Home.