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Isabel Kurth Award Winners

Joanne Peterson

by Roger Frey

The Isabel Kurth Award is presented to very special Newfoundland Club of America members who have provided dedicated service and contributions to the NCA over an extended period of time. This award was created to honor one of the NCA's most cherished and honored members, Isabel Kurth. For well over 40 years, Isabel served the club tirelessly in a variety of capacities. Her love and devotion to the Newfoundland are legendary.

The Board of Directors selects recipients as appropriate, with no set frequency. This award is considered to be the highest accolade that the NCA can bestow upon one of its own. Therefore, a nominee must receive a two-thirds favorable vote of the Board of Directors.

There have been only five previous recipients, Mary W. Price, Betty McDonnell, Louise Esiason, Ron Pemberton, and Beverly Eichel. This year Joanne Peterson has been added to this illustrious roster.

Joanne has been an NCA member for over 50 years. She is an Honorary Member, as well. In all likelihood, she is the longest serving NCA volunteer. Long-time NCA members remember when she was the NCA's first and only source of general and public education. Her service to the NCA began many years ago, when people could send five dollars to Joanne's post office box in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and promptly receive The Newfoundland and You. She received 80 to 100 requests per month for the booklet as the result of a standing ad in the AKC Gazette. All inquiries were answered with handwritten addressed envelopes and some with personal notes. All this was accomplished without the use of the computers and printers that now lighten our workload. Joanne still receives about 10 requests a month and continues to serve our club in this important way. She has been quoted as saying "l had the fun job; I got to talk to all the people:' She was and remains a committee of one.

For 12 years, Joanne penned the AKC Gazette Newfoundland breed column, when it was a monthly column. As anyone who has ever had to meet a regular deadline for publishing knows, this is no easy task. In earlier years, before Newf Tide, this was as close to a breed publication as we had.

Joanne has also been a devout obedience enthusiast for many years and often traveled to Denver to train. Her Newfs came from Lucy Cowl, Barb and Jim Ferguson, Kady Engstrom, and Mary Dewey. For 30 years, her Newfs have always lived with Pembroke Welsh Corgis, many of which were champion and UD titled dogs.

Mary W. Price recalls attending an obedience trial with her then 12-year old daughter, Mary. The younger Mary was having a problem with the heeling pattern, as her Newf, Annie, just sat and watched the child complete the pattern by herself. Joanne took the team in hand and gave them some helpful hints and kind encouragement. Annie went on to become Am/Can. Ch. Little Bear's Tug Boat Annie, Am/Can CD.

In recent years, Joanne has often been seen at National Specialties with Corgis at her heels. She is now the owner of her first champion Newfoundland, Ch. Nova Star Abigail Adams, a.k.a. Nabby, whom she co-owns with Nabby's breeders, Johanna Matsuda and Greg Szynskie.

The Newfoundland Club is honored to present the Isabel Kurth Award to this "Very Distinguished Member of our Newfoundland Society:' Joanne Peterson. 


reprinted from Newf Tide 3Q 2007


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