Longtime Master of Foxhounds at Deep Run Hunt (VA), James "Red Dog" Covington passed away at home with his family on January 21, 2016. A consummate sporting gentleman and advocate for land conservation, he took every opportunity to enjoy good sport and to share his passion with others.
Red Dog was born February 23, 1935 in Richmond, Virginia, the youngest of three children of James Edward Covington and Annie Marshall Covington. In early childhood, he lived in Shanghai, before returning to Richmond and spending summers in Henry County, Virginia, working on a farm and developing his passion for the land. After graduating from St. Christopher's School and the University of Virginia (through law school), he married Jane Elizabeth Ellis in 1961 and settled in Richmond. He worked for Williams Mullen law firm before establishing the Covington Company.
Among many community involvements, Red Dog was a member and warden of St. Mary's Church and served on the Three Chopt Road Civic Association. His obituary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted, "Red Dog was a man of action and he lived totally in the present. If the wind was up, he was on the water, sailing. If the snow was falling, he was skiing on the slopes. And, if the sun was shining, he was on the golf course. If the hounds were speaking, he was astride a horse and not far behind. Indeed, his greatest passion may have been foxhunting; that sport brought together his love of the land, the excitement of the chase, the intrigue of hound work, the close relationship between rider and horse and the camaraderie among his friends and fellow fox hunters."
Red Dog served as Master at Deep Run from 1980-1985 and again from 2001 until his death. Opening and preserving country were top priorities. In the years preceding his death, he and his daughter, Janie, worked tirelessly to restore and improve Sunnyside Farm in Fluvanna County. He also put easements on his land and encouraged others to do likewise, resulting in the preservation of several thousand acres of hunting territory.
Red Dog is survived by his wife, Jane Ellis Covington; his daughter, Elizabeth Marshall Covington; and her sons, Marshall Hairston Humphries and Ellis Covington Humphries; his daughter, Jane Covington Motion and her husband, Andrew; and their daughters, Lillibet and Mary; his son, Jimmy Covington and his wife, Melissa; his sister, Anne Wilson Covington Thompson; as well as nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces.