In Memory of Melbourne T.L. Downing Sr.
the oldest active AKC judge, a legend in his own time
Mel Downing Sr. 92, died of heart failure Monday, Nov. 5, 2007 in Towson, MD. A lawyer (retired) and contracting company owner. Mr. Downing was internationally respected as an AKC All Breed dog show judge, indeed Mel was a second-generation All Breed Judge.
November 2007 | TheDogPress.com
He bred German Shepherds, Pekingese, and Pugs under the Holly Lodge kennel name before beginning his judging career in 1938.
Mr. Downing received the AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 but he had already earned the love and respect of decades of dog fanciers. Mel fascinated the fancy with his little black book in which he made notes while judging. Speculation about those notes is still a favorite topic of conversation.
One of Mel's many contributions to the sport occurred in 1983 when he and Lt. Col. Wallace H. Pede founded the Senior Conformation Judges Association, Melbourne as President and the Colonel as Executive Secretary. The first Charter Member was legendary All Breed judge, Mr. E. W. “Tip” Tipton. Today, the membership roster reads like a Who’s Who of AKC judges.
Mel Downing was a collector of rare cars and considered an authority on rare breeds. When, after 63 years together, his beloved wife Dorothy died in 2001, Mel reduced judging assignments. He gradually faded from the show scene but not from the memories of seven decades of exhibitors who treasure his integrity and measured comments on their dogs.
Read TheJudgesPlace.com Exclusive Interview with Mel Downing