WILMINGTON – On Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 Mehdi Kazemi passed away peacefully at Lower Cape Fear Hospice in Wilmington after a long, difficult and bravely fought battle with ALS. He was 57.
Mehdi was born on March 14, 1959 in Tehran, Iran to Dr. Davoud Kazemi and Mrs. Nahid Tavallali Kazemi. He attended school there and in England. He moved permanently to the United States in 1977. He attended Emory and Henry College and graduated from Virginia Intermont College with a degree in horsemanship.
After graduation he moved to Maryland and became a very accomplished equestrian coach and trainer. He worked briefly at McDonogh School and then for many years at Colombia Horse Center. He then, along with his life partner Tommy Byrnes, bought his own farm. Winter’s Run Farm was a hunter-jumper barn located in Fallston, Maryland. He also was the riding coach for Towson University and proudly coached the Featherdown team along with friend Julie Wright.
About five years ago Mehdi and Tommy moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, to be closer to family. There he started teaching at Old Homestead Farm in Rocky Point, North Carolina. He along with his friend and owner of O.H.F, Margaret Overby, started a very successful IEA team (Interscholastic Equestrian Association) and he became the equestrian coach for UNCW.
His career as an equestrian coach, trainer, course designer and clinician was long and successful. Over the years he has had many newspaper and magazine articles written about his accomplishments. In 2016, he was awarded the IEA National Coach of the Year. As profoundly talented and gifted as he was, he will always be remembered by his adoring students, spanning three decades, for his beautiful soul, kind heart, booming voice and infectious laugh, sense of humor, compassion, loyalty and friendship. He was a father figure to many over the years.
He is survived by his loving partner of 27 years, Tommy Byrnes; his parents, Dr. Davoud Kazemi and Mrs. Nahid Tavallali Kazemi; sister, Nafiseh Kazemi and brother, Reza Kazemi; and loving nieces and nephews Yasmine, Sahar and Raud Farazian, Chloe, Arriana and Benjamin Kazemi. He is also survived by his loving in-laws, Carolyn Byrnes Greenwood, Sam Greenwood, John Douglas Byrnes, Dawn Byrnes, Johnny and Lynn Byrnes, Jamie Byrnes, Mark Greenwood and Mike and Rachel Greenwood. He also leaves behind a large family of loving cousins, friends and students.
Mehdi lived each day by his belief in good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
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