BEST IN SHOW
From Avis Mackie, Summer 2008
The first time Lorne & I met the Woodward’s was at an AKC Meeting, held in the Gas Company auditorium, in the early 1960’s. Little did we know that over the next few years Mary would become the voice and face of AKC, as Chair of the judges committee, seeking and inviting new judges from all parts of the world. Mary’s idea was “Invite them and they will come, and come they did, many not knowing where Calgary was until they looked it up on a map. Mary enlisted Charlie as Hospitality and Transportation representative. Joe Fleming came on board to present White Hats and acted as Liaison with the ever growing judging panels. Shows were growing larger and larger.
Mary and Charlie bred and exhibited White Standard and Miniature poodles under the Marichar prefix. Mary did the grooming and ring presentation was by Charlie at local shows, beginning with the unforgettable “Oliver” from Alikai Kennel. Oliver was a delight and a true show dog, winning Groups and Best in Shows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Such was the Woodward’s influence in the poodle ring that a small but noticeable error in the body coat pattern appeared overnight on both competing specials!!. How hard it was to keep a straight face! The Standards were joined by equally successful Miniatures and German Shorthaired Pointers.
Mary was elected treasurer of AKC at about the same time as she became Judges Chair. She had a firm hand of fiscal restraint on all parts of AKC. Charlie, in the meantime, had written his judges exams and was launched into the world of international judging. After Joe Fleming passed away Charlie handled the White Hat Ceremony for all of AKC’s first time judges. I cannot remember a place that Lorne that Lore and I judged, that someone didn’t come to ring side and asked to be remembered to Mary and Charlie Woodward. Many of our Club “traditions” of Western Hospitality began in the 1970’s, instituted by the Woodward’s. Charlie retired from judging and Mary “cut back” a little, but still finds time to Ring Steward and do most of the jobs she has always done for the Club. Volunteering is a Calgary tradition well demonstrated by Mary and Charlie Woodward in their years of Service at AKC and Pure Bred Dogs. Join us in paraphrasing the theme from “The Golden Girls” and saying to Mary and Charlie Woodward: Thank you for being our friends…
From Leslie Potter, Summer 2008
My first memories of the Woodward’s go back to when I was about 5-6 years old. I distinctly remember going to visit people in a big white house and going home with a wonderful Miniature Poodle puppy. She was to become the matriarch of the Potter household and my childhood play companion. She was very patient with the little girl who insisted on dressing her up and taking her out in her doll buggy. Collette was the first poodle that we owned and was the beginning of a long association with the breed. Yes, that was back in the 1960’s.
Many years later, in the early ‘80’s, my parents gave me my very own Standard Poodle. We, as a family, began to involve ourselves with dog showing and I soon realized that in order for me to enjoy the privilege of competing at so many of the shows that we began to attend, a large (or in some cases, small) group of volunteers made those shows possible. My new friend, Joanne Cassidy, re-introduced me to Mary & Charlie Woodward and I soon began to help with entry closings and various other tasks related to AKC shows. I spent a lot of time in the family room at the same big white house. The Woodward’s have been great mentors to me and so many others. Charlie patiently explained to me why white poodles were far superior to any other colour; I think it must have sunk in because they are my favourite now.
Charlie donated endless hours to a variety of club activities including hosting and transporting visiting judges. Some people become the soul and glue that holds a club together; for the AKC it has been the Woodward’s. We miss Charlie – his teasing, wicked sense of humour, and his willingness to share his knowledge of the Pure Bred Dog.