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Obituary - Margaret Stuart Walton (1918 - 2008)

Margaret Stuart Walton – better known as ‘Peg’ Walton – passed away on Sunday, 14th September 2008, at the age of 90. The world of bassets had lost one of its best-known and most-respected figures: a landmark in the history of the breed. Peg’s affix, Lyn Mar Acres, is familiar to basset fanciers the world over. Rare is the American Basset Hound that does not have a Lyn Mar among its ancestors and the few hounds that Peg exported to Europe are also to be found in pedigrees, mainly in the UK and Italy.

Peg grew up in a family of animal lovers, especially dogs and horses. Her father – a Scot - bred horses and collies, and as a child Peg had a wire-haired terrier, a mare and several cats. At 14, she was given a foxhound and grew to love the typical hound temperament – a mixture of single-mindedness, obstinacy and devotion.

In her early 20s, she married Milton Lynwood Walton (Woody), who was a “beagler” but had always wanted to hunt with Basset Hounds. Peg decided to get one! But first, with her characteristic thoroughness, she learned all about the breed and established contacts with breeders and exhibitors. At the Westminster show in 1943 she found just the right foundation bitch she had been looking for, Ch. Duchess of Greenly Hall, whom she bred to Ch. Promise of Greenly Hall. About this time, Peg also acquired a bitch (Mitzi) from the Kilsyth kennel, who was bred to Kilsyth Baronet. A daughter from the Greenly Hall pair (Ch. Maitri of Lyn Mar) was mated to a dog from the Kilsyth pair (Kilsyth Lucky). That was the beginning of a long line of outstanding Lyn Mar champions, including Ch. Lyn Mar Acres Clown, Ch. Lyn Mar Acres Top Brass, Am./Ital. Ch. Lyn Mar Acres M’Lord Batuff (acquired by Giuseppe Benelli, a pioneer of the breed in Italy, this dog made his mark on Italian breeding stock), Ch. Lyn Mar Acres Endman (imported into England by Mildred Seiffert of the Maycombe affix) and Ch. Lyn Mar Acres Extra Man. These dogs were renowned all over the world for their quality, type and movement.

It was a terrible blow to Peg when Woody died, and later – some 12 years ago – she lost her beloved son, John Stuart Walton. She is survived by her daughter, Joni Walton Truscott and her son-in-law, Rich Truscott.

Among Peg’s many personal achievements are the following:

• She was Chairman of the BHCA’s Basset Hound Standard Committee at the crucial time when the current BHCA standard of the breed was drawn up

• Over 100 AKC champions – mainly bassets but also several other breeds including Rottweilers – were produced in the Lyn Mar kennel

• The first basset to become a Dual Champion was a bitch from her kennel

• A Lyn Mar was the second basset to go All-breed Best in Show

• Peg won BOB at the prestigious Westminster show six years in a row

• She was a founding member of a local Basset Hound club and of an all-breed club

• The AKC elevated her to the rank of AKC Best in Show Judge

• She judged Basset Hounds on six continents and was the first American judge to be invited to mainland China

• In a national poll of judges and handlers she won the Gaines “FIDO” award as Dog Breeder of the Year

• She was made an honorary Life Member of The Basset Hound Club (UK) for her “help in improving the breed” in that country

• She wrote The New Basset Hound (1993) – a complete guide for basset enthusiasts

• Before formal AKC training seminars existed, she organized seminars to teach judges about the Basset Hound breed

• In 2003 she was the first recipient of the BHCA President’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Peg bred Basset Hounds for over 60 years, which must be a record. As recently as last year, she hand-reared a litter of puppies sired by Ch. Sasquatch Double Exposure: the last Basset Hounds to bear the illustrious Lyn Mar Acres affix.

One can truly say that Peg Walton’s career in the dog world is unlikely ever to be equalled, and we basset people should be proud that so much of it was devoted to our wonderful breed.

Grace Servais