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Isabel Kurth Award Winners

Mary W. Price

by John Adams, Awards Chairperson

Isabel s. Kurth was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on April 9, 1902. Her father, Andrew Sutherland, was a well known merchant who owned Sutherland's Department Store. Isabel graduated from Wellesley College in 1924. For the next two years she taught Latin and algebra in a local grammar school.

She married William W. Kurth in 1926.

While Isabel liked dogs and usually had one, she did not get her first Newfoundland until her son Bill was in college. There was a black dog living in his fraternity house, who was not working out. Bill asked his mother if she would take the dog. She agreed, and Isabel received her first Newfoundland. The dog had a terrible disposition and had to be put down. But the die was cast.... and a life long adventure with the Newfoundland began. Isabel soon had another Newfoundland, and then another. She joined kennel clubs, and began stewarding. She brought to the dog world her great energy, diligence, generosity, and organizational skills.

Margaret Chern was responsible for Isabel's introduction to the Newfoundland Club of America. At that time, there was a small number of Newfs and Newf fanciers. The speciality show had a new Chairman, Mrs William W. Kurth.

Isabel traveled extensively, visiting Newfoundland kennels throughout North America and Europe. She often was accompanied by Kitty Drury and Nell Ayres. During these years she was very active in the North Shore Dog Club and the Ladies Dog Club. Isabel was devoted to stewarding and spent literally hundreds of hours at dog shows. She could always be relied upon to give a trophy, take an ad, make a donation, provide lunch (or a bed), give a ride, write a letter, rescue a dog, help in hospitality or registrations, or, always, steward.

Both the Newfoundland Club of America and the Newfoundland Club of New England held her interest. Yet, she belonged to clubs all over the world, including The Newfoundland Club of Canada, France, Columbia River, and others. At various times, she was NCA Secretary, AKC Delegate, and Speciality Show Chairman, and always, Steward, Chief Steward, or Honorary Chief Steward. In her later years, she wrote hundreds of letters of congratulation to new champions as Recognition Chairman. Isabel received two Gaines medals, one from North Shore and one from NCA, as well as many plaques and commendations from clubs all over the world.

In 1993 the Board of the Newfoundland Club of America established a very special award. This "Isabel S. Kurth Award" is so named in honor of an extraordinary woman whose years of service to the Club are legendary. The Isabel S. Kurth Award is given in recognition of service to the Breed, and was chosen to illustrate her devotion to stewarding and her favorite dog Eric, Edenglen's Sovereign of the Sea. The award is to be presented to that member who best exemplifies the standards of excellence in service that Isabel set.

At the 1994 National in Michigan, we had the pleasure of presenting the "Isabel S. Kurth Award" for the very first time.

The first recipient, Mary W. Price, has been a Club member since 1970, and her contributions to the betterment of the breed and our Club over the last 24 years have been remarkable. An exhaustive account of her accomplishments would be voluminous, but some highlights are in order. During Larry Lerners' presidential term in the late 70's, Mary chaired the NCA Code of Ethics Committee and the Awards Committee. Concurrently she served as the Trophy Chairman for the National Specialty in Rockton, Illinois.

Election to the NCA Board of Directors followed, and Mary also served as Recording Secretary to Presidents Nell Ayers and Betty McDonnell. Since her appointment ten years ago as the NCA delegate to the AKC, a post she still retains, Mary has kept us abreast of current issues facing AKC and their implications for our club and purebreds in general.

The monumental task of Membership Chairman is yet another challenge Mary has met and mastered. Under her tutelage our club has nearly doubled in membership. Recording of dues, address changes, and new member applications are all detailed, but necessary. work that Mary still happily volunteers her time for.

The Gaines Good Sportsmanship Award was bestowed on Mary in 1984, and both she and her husband Bob have had honorary life memberships in NCA for nearly as long. Mary and her Paddlewheel Newfs have had numerous successes in both the conformation and obedience ring over the years. A charter member of the Minnesota Purebred Dog Breeders Association, Mary also holds memberships in the Land O'Lakes Kennel Club, the North Central Newfoundland Club, and The Newfoundland Club of Canada.

It has been, and continues to be the great fortune of NCA to have such a dedicated friend in Mary W. Price. Her contributions and great spirit have not only been priceless, but they have been of a mettle that Isabel Kurth would quietly and proudly recognize.

reprinted from Newf Tide 3Q 1994

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