Tim Icke: A Father To Us All

Photo courtesy of Tony and Pam Turchi Photo courtesy of Tony and Pam Turchi

A somber weekend in eventing became just a little darker when we lost one of our greatest fathers, Tim Icke, just this past Sunday. Tim, or “Tickie” as he was fondly known, was the kind of guy that you couldn’t help but love immediately. His smile was infectious, and he was always there to lend a helping hand to anybody in need. Father to upper-level rider Skyeler Icke Voss, he quickly became well known around the eventing circuit as he played the roles of trailer chauffeur, handy groom, cross-country cheerleader, truck fixer, trailer waxer, and finally, post-ride bartender.

Tickie wasn’t just any old horse show dad; he was the best, period. As you’ll quickly gather from the stories below, Skyeler wasn’t his only horse child because he pretty much adopted everybody. For Tim, if you were friend, you were family. His joy was found in helping other people and listening to NPR while doing it. From the way he said “Hell-OOoo” every time he saw you, to his undying energy and enthusiasm for life itself, to say we will miss Tim Icke is a massive understatement. Skye, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful father with us all; he meant the world to each and every one of us.

As Tim touched so many lives within our small eventing community, I felt it was imperative to share stories and memories from those who were close to him, and I was inundated with tributes. A celebration of his life will be held at Morningside Training Farm this Sunday. Details can be found at the link below. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations in Tim’s memory to A Place to Be in Middleburg, Va.

 Tributes to Tim Icke:

Kristin Carpenter:If ever you were wandering around a horse show and saw two legs sticking out from underneath your horse trailer, you would have met Tim Icke. He might scramble out from underneath and inform you that your axel is bent or your tire is low (which he would have already fixed), or simply compliment your trailer management before ambling away and ducking under the next trailer that piqued his interest.

“Tim was a staple for all of us, whether we were riders, friends or parents. He took each and every person under his care and treated us all as though we were his own. I was lucky to be one of Tim Icke’s seemingly countless adopted children. He was the person we would all ask to fix anything, whether that meant identifying a weird noise our engine was making or rigging a cross-country jump that mimicked our horses’ latest fears.”

“But Tim didn’t just fix things that were broken; he built things. Tim built a family that we all admire. He built his family’s home and the barns from the ground up. He built a relationship with Skyeler that no amount of time, heartache, tears or distance can dent. He built friendships with literally anyone who met him (we are even inviting the guys at the mechanic shop to the ceremony). Tim built memories in every continent and traveled with his family and friends every chance he got. Tim built an independent woman in Skyeler, who is stronger than she can yet realize. Tim built a hell of a life.”

Laine Ashker: “I first met Tim in the summer of 1999 as Skyeler and I prepped our Thoroughbreds, Savannah and Jaime, for our first trip to NAYRC CCI* representing Area II in Colorado. Since the day I first met him up until this past Saturday at Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials, I never once saw Skyeler at a horse show WITHOUT her amazing father.

“Tim’s death hits close to home for me, as I know how close the bond was between father and daughter, as I share a similar connection with my mother. To say that he will be missed by many is an understatement of the century. Without even knowing it, Tim has affected so many riders in a positive and influential way. Even his very presence at a horse show made me feel closer to home even if my mother is on a different coast. We love you, Skyeler. Thank you for sharing your father with all of us! What an amazing human being!”

Erin Murphy: “Tim was the type of person that you don’t come by often. He truly was one of a kind. Tim was kind, loving, funny and enjoyable to be around at all times. If you needed something fixed, Tim was the first person to call. He could fix anything. Although he retired, he still reported to the farm every day to “putz around.” The farm was his favorite place to be, and he found complete happiness and joy doing what he loved to do: helping people and fixing things.

“His positive attitude was something to admire. He was always happy, laughing and making jokes. At horse shows, he loved greeting and starting conversations with people, even if he didn’t know who they were. He attended every horse show with us, but rarely caught our actual rounds because he would mistake random riders for us and followed them cheering around the course.

“I was fortunate enough to become a part of the Icke family years ago. Tim truly was a second father to me. I feel honored to have known such a strong man that instilled me and everyone he knew with life long values. I admired the way he raised Skyeler and Trevor, and the way he took care of his wife, Nancy. He went through life wanting to please everyone, and he did that, plus so much more. Although Tim is gone, he will never be forgotten. He will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will miss him every day. Rest in peace Ticke.”

Lynn Symansky: “I think I actually remember Tim Icke better than I remember Skyeler in the very beginning of my childhood. He was the cool funny dad of the nice quiet girl I competed against in lead line and rode with in Pony Club. I remember him well even from when I was 5 years old, probably because he reminded me so much of my own dad — always laughing, always cheerleading, always helping out.

“Tim had an absolutely infectious laugh and a superb sense of humor. It always blew me away how he would go out of his way to help anyone. Have something that needs to be fixed? Ask Tim. He could seriously do just about anything, and was always looking for ways to improve things or new projects to work on. Got yourself into a tough situation? Talk it through with Tickie. He would always try and understand every problem and offer his take on it, whether it was actually sound advice or just plain funny. Need a beverage or something to eat? Count on Tim to always be equipped. He was really skilled on making sure everyone was taken care of and having a good time.

“Skyeler was Tim’s initial inspiration to come to the events, and he turned into a staple at every event, but it was about way more than just supporting his daughter’s success. Tim cared about everyone and loved to be part of the entire team, which is why his passing has touched so many people. Everyone who knew Tim regarded him as a friend and father figure. He had a vibrant love for life and everyone around him. I will never forget his energy, sense of humor, amazing attitude and selflessness. If I ever have to pick one person coming with me to a deserted island, Tickie is hands down my top choice — for survival, a hard laugh and an eternal good time!”


Photo credit to Freed Photography

Connor Husain: “Tim was one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. When I moved to Angelica Run in 2007, he welcomed me with open arms, and he immediately became a second father to me. His work ethic and unconditional love for his family and humanity in general inspired me to be the best person I could be every day.

“He taught me so many things about life. He taught me how to fix a fence, to check oil, to drive a tractor, to work hard, and, most importantly, he taught me how to be a gentleman and a friend. I will miss his joy and passion every day. I will miss getting into any vehicle and knowing he was there because NPR is blasting on the radio. I will miss our road trips to Aiken and the early morning McMuffins. And most of all, I will miss the late night “dribbles” with a very dear friend and father.”

Valeria Ashker: “I relocated Laine  to the East Coast from Northern California in the winter of 1997, when she had shown interest in participating in the NAJYRC. It was at that point that Skyeler and Laine  were chosen to attend the training camps for a position on the Area II team. The girls worked primarily on their own and were very successful, while the parents oversaw things and contributed from the side lines. It was then that I met Tim, and he was a wonderful breath of spring air.  He made me feel very welcome and comfortable for being there and supporting our kids.”

“If there were any issues between mothers and kids, I could always find the peace within Tim’s friendship and admired him for not being part of any clique or circle. His love and support for Skyeler was evident at every horse show, and there was something special about always knowing he was there when I saw Skyeler gallop by at an event.

“I am sure it will be shocking for years to come without his presence at these events. He was such a mainstay. It will pain all of us, especially his beautiful daughter. However, Tim is imprinted in all our lives, and he set the standard of what love and devotion is all about. The world will miss him, but he leaves with that memory which influences all of us. And because of this, he will live on. God Bless you, Tim, and your beautiful family.”

Phillip Dutton: “I spent a lot of time with Tim while I was the Area II Young Riders coach and Skyeler was a part of the team. He was a superb dad and an overall nice guy, and it was obvious he loved Skyeler very much and was so proud to support her riding. He will be very missed in the eventing community.”

Nate Chambers: “Tim Icke was always a ray of sunlight on a cloudy day. When I first started riding at the age of 13, it was on the Icke’s family farm. Every time I saw Tim, he had a smile on his face and positive words of encouragement. It didn’t matter how bad your ride went … Tim would tell you the bright side or make you laugh and feel better. The paths I took to get to the Icke’s farm on horseback would have become overgrown quickly if it weren’t for Tim. I was one of the only people who used that path, and he always made sure I had a safe way through. I’m very thankful to have known Tim. I will miss him, cherish the memories and strive for his optimism.”

Erin Freedman: “In the great blizzard of 1996, Tim piled the snow up on the side of the roads at Angelica Run Farm, using the hill to make the best luge ever. He got up early to prepare, packing it down and putting ice on it so that when we woke up, it was ready for us to play on. Ten years ago, when my family was by my dad’s side in the hospital, Tim got a crew together and fixed our fencing and barn up. Knowing that I had a second dad to help me at horse shows and in life overall was the best.

“From throwing Skyeler and me the best 21st birthday party, to giving me advice on the latest dent in my truck, he was always there. Last Monday, after I sold my best horses and couldn’t get a hold of my parents, I went to Tickie and Nancy’s house, and my martini glass was full before I even sat down. He knew how to put everyone in a good mood. I will never forget the smile on his face when he saw one of us do well in a competition, or his pride at Skyeler’s wedding to Clayton. You will be missed, Tickie. “

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