with Horse and Hound


man in red hunt coat

Charles William Lewis, Sr., 1940-2024

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Charlie Lewis, the larger-than-life Master of Belle Meade Hunt.  My first memory of Charlie was about eight years ago when Tennessee Valley had its first joint meet with Belle Meade. At the meet, during announcements, Charlie invited us all to ride up front with him but cautioned us to be careful.  He said that a group from Virginia had come down the month before and four of them fell off on the first day.  He smiled and said in that slow, deep Geogia drawl, “We haven’t found those ladies yet, so keep your eyes open for ‘em!”
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huntsman and riders in red coats with hounds at the dublin horse show ring

Michael Dempsey MFH Appreciation

Michael Dempsey MFH, a household name in hunting circles all over the world, sadly passed away last week at age 98, in the loving care of his son Tom and his wife Mairead. He hunted the Galway Blazers for 20 seasons and was Joint Master for 40 seasons. His son Tom followed as huntsman for another 20 seasons. Michael also hunted Lady Molly Cusack-Smith’s Bermingham & North Galway Hounds and the East Galway Hounds, which possibly made him the only huntsman to hunt all of the County Galway foxhound packs.
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Gordy Keys

Gordon Chandler Keys (1933-2023)

Gordy KeysGordie Keys (on the right) hunting with Piedmont Fox Hounds in 1991.  Photo by Douglas Lees.

Gordy Keys died last week in Middleburg, Virginia. This was a huge loss for the hunting and racing community in Virginia.

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Joe Scott Plummer, xMFH (1943-2022)

SaddlesPhoto by Gretchen Pelham.

Joe Scott Plummer was an Edinburgh investment firm chairman and a popular joint Master of the Duke of Buccleuch’s Hunt (1981 – 2007). He once was quoted in an interview that foxhunting was “a very important glue” that brought everyone together “from dukes… to retired shepherds”. He continued to hunt three days a week until this past April.

His legacy in foxhunting is that he helped draft the fox control protocol under which mounted hunts continued to operate in Scotland.*

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Billy Dodson 2013 TH

Billy Dodson, 1946 – 2022

Billy Dodson 2013 THBilly Dodson, huntsman for Thorton Hill Hounds, circa 2013. Photo by Gretchen Pelham.

Lewis William "Billy" Dodson, 76, of Sperryville, died Friday, December 2, 2022, at his residence surrounded by his loving family. He was born April 5, 1946, in Rappahannock County, VA to the late Ollie Dodson and Eva Clark Dodson.

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Melvyn Haas photo

Remembrance of Dr. Melvyn Lawrence Haas

Melvyn Haas photoDr. Melvyn Lawrence Haas (1940--2022) Dr. Melvyn Haas, ex-MFH, died August 27, 2022 in Aiken, South Carolina.  He was eighty-two. Dr. Haas was a founding Master of Foxhounds with Whiskey Road Fox Hounds.  

Dr. Haas was born March 16, 1940, in New York, New York to the late Adolph and Manya Haas. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and M.D. from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine in 1965. He moved to Aiken, South Carolina in 1972 and practiced Neurology for over fifty years. He was a faculty member at Augusta University and was affiliated with Aiken Regional Medical Center. He was dedicated to his many patients. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and brother.

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hal barry mfh

Hal Barry, MFH (1940−2022)

hal barry mfh 
Harold Vincent “Hal” Barry, MFH of the Bear Creek Hounds (GA), passed away at age eighty-two on May 31, 2022, at Piedmont Hospital in Newnan, Georgia.

His passing came on the day after the Virginia Foxhound Show, which had resumed after two years of cancellations due to the Covid pandemic. Hal was able to catch up with many of his foxhunting friends after the long separation, but sadly for the last time.

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martin letts2.courtest Daphne wood

Martin Letts, Longtime MFH, Leading Hound Breeder

martin letts2.courtest Daphne woodMartin Letts, MFH  /    photo courtesy of Daphne Wood, MFH

John Martin Letts died February 28, 2022, at the age of eighty-eight, still fulfilling his position as a Master of the College Valley/North Northumberland Foxhounds (UK). Appointed Master in 1964, he held the position for fifty-eight seasons.

His hounds hunt the hill country of the English/Scottish Border. A highly regarded hound breeder, the bloodlines of his Fell/Modern English crosses are to be found in many hunt kennels today in Britain, Ireland, and America. He was formerly huntsman of the pack, which he skillfully bred and assembled. Martin Letts was well-known in North America and frequently judged the major hound shows here.

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james barclay.hunting fitzwilliam 1993

James Barclay, MFH (1959−2021)

james barclay.hunting fitzwilliam 1993James Barclay, MFH, hunting the Fitzwilliam hounds, 1993

We are deeply saddened to report the passing of Maurice James Barclay, ex-MFH, at age sixty-two. His death is attributed to heart failure.

After serving as Master of five British foxhound packs, his response to Britain’s Hunting Act of 2004 was to devote himself to educating and persuading everyone he could reach―whether pro-hunting or anti-hunting, adult or child, wealthy countryman or underprivileged child of the city―of foxhunting’s intrinsic value to England’s story-book countryside. To James, nothing was more important than saving the countryside.

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mildred riddell.lees

Mildred Riddell, ex-MFH, Old Dominion Hounds (1924−2021)

mildred riddell.leesDouglas Lees photo

Mildred Gulick Riddell, MFH of the Old Dominion Hounds (VA) from 1982 to 1992, died on December 4, 2021, at the age of 97. Born in 1924 at the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington D.C., she lived most of her life at Redwood in Casanova, Virginia, the farm bought for her mother as a wedding gift by her grandfather, James Strother of Carrington in Delaplane.

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