Jim Atkins: Gentleman and Sportsman, 1941-2013

Jim Atkins obit pic SMALLDouglas Lees photoRetired huntsman James L. Atkins passed away June 25, 2013 at his home in Amissville, VA. Born in Rappahannock County, he became a farmer and horse trainer and drove for a trucking company before owning and operating a construction company. He hunted hounds for Old Dominion Hounds, Dr. Gable, Piedmont Fox Hounds, and Warrenton Hunt. Jim was known far and wide as a hound judge and as a true gentleman and friend. He mentored numerous people involved in hunting, gladly sharing his years of knowledge and experience.

From the Hunt Field to the Derby: A Tribute to Well Well

well wellPhoto Courtesy Winter PaxsonWell Well made his first debut as a race horse for Mr & Mrs Houghton. With 14 career starts, 1 win,1 Second, 2 thirds, Earning a total of $18,800.00. It was soon determined racing would not be Well Well’s career of choice.

Shortly after trying him as a race horse Well Well was given to the Paxson family. He became a part of the family and was ridden by Gregory Paxson and Jim Paxson as the Huntsmans horse. Well Well was an incredible horse to hunt in the field, Masters Horse, Field Masters horse, and guest horse. It didn’t matter if you could ride or not, Well Well would take care of you.

 

Mary Southwell Hutchison Has Viewed and Gone Away

MarySouthSmallDouglas Lees photoI first met Mary South in the mid 70's and from then our lives touched in many ways. She was a licensed Real Estate Agent under my Brokerage License for Thomas & Talbot Real Estate; her brother, Hutch, worked for my construction company when my brother Charley and I built townhouses in Mosby Square here in Middleburg; her father 's Dick Hutchinson's, Labrador Retriever, Trapper, spent more time at my house than at his and ultimately was given to me after Dick died; and then of course there was the Hunt.

Mary South was a 26 - 27 year old beautiful young lady when I first rode in a hunt field with her in the mid 70's almost 40 years ago. Over these years this inveterate and highly accomplished horse woman excelled not only in the hunt field but in shows and hunter trials as well winning Mrs. Randolph's Hunter Championship of American at Glenwood Park at least once.

Her efforts with Orange County were not limited to just riding. Mary South helped enlighten novice riders to hunt protocol and traditions (sometimes to their chagrin); she gave unselfishly as a volunteer to all hunt events including our Pair Races, our Team Chases, our Barn Dances, our Point-to-Points, our Puppy Shows and to the Virginia Hound Shows. She was our field Secretary before she became Honorary Secretary to the Hunt in the early 90's - a position she held for 20 years until her passing last Thursday. In that position she was the eyes and ears of us Masters reporting any flagrant abuses of hunt protocol, she took minutes for the Board of Stewards, she got out all of our mailings including Master's letters, fixture cards, Landowner Party invitations, Puppy Show invitations, all of our event invitations, and our Christmas Cards. Besides these hunt duties she handled all the invitations and billings for the Virginia Foxhound Club.

Fred Duncan Dedicated His Life to Hunting

fred duncanPhoto courtesy Middleburg HuntOn December 20, 2012, the foxhunting community lost one of its most dedicated representatives, Fred Duncan. He spent most of his adult life in hunt service, working at the Warrenton hunt for thirteen years and at the Middleburg Hunt for twenty years.

Starting in hunt service at Warrenton in 1966, Fred whipped in to the famous huntsman and his mentor, Dick Bywaters. Fred always credited his extensive knowledge of American foxhound conformation and bloodlines to Bywaters. After Bywaters retired, Fred took over the pack and hunted the hounds for six seasons.

During the brief periods when Fred was not in professional hunt service, he worked with race horses (flat and steeplechase), show horses, quarter horses and field hunters. In the early 1960’s when he worked for author Jane McClary as stable foreman of her hunter barn, he even schooled her horses side saddle.

In Memory of Philip A. Kerner

Philip Kerner smallPhilip A. Kerner, 83, passed away in South Hill, VA, on January 20, 2013 after a long illness. Born in Bayonne, NJ, on November 13, 1929, he graduated from the University of Virginia. He went on to a successful career in banking, working his way up from teller to bank president and garnering an appointment to Deputy Commissioner of Banking for the state of New Jersey.

But those were not the accomplishments that he would want to be remembered for. Always close to the land, he was a dedicated hunter, sportsman, and farmer. He hunted a varierty of quarry from rabbits to coyote to deer and even bear, but his undying passion was always horses, hounds and foxhunting. Mr. Kerner was a very active member of the Amwell Valley Hunt of Ringoes, N.J. for years, serving on the hunt committee and as whipper-in. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Reedy Creek hounds of McKenney, VA.

Gone Away: Robert James Walker

bob walkerPhoto courtesy Bernadette WalkerRetired Huntsman Robert James “Bob” Walker of Gay, Ga., died Sept. 18, 2012, after a lifetime devoted to hounds and hunting.

Mr. Walker was buried in his native Ireland, at Stradbally, Co. Waterford, in a poignant ceremony that was a fitting tribute to a man who spent most of his 84 years carrying the horn. Leading his funeral procession was a riderless hunt horse with boots turned backwards in the stirrups, about 10 couple of his beloved Waterford Foxhounds following behind. During the service, a piper played “The Foxchase” on uileann pipes (Irish bagpipes).

Before friends and family took their leave of Bob at graveside, his friend “Big Mike” Power blew “Gone Away” and his wife, Mary, blew “Going Home” on the hunting horn.

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