2024 Field Trial Obituaries
February 23, 2024
Notices Received In February
Harry R. Blaine (1931-2024)
Submitted by Reba Leiding
It is with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of my husband, Harry Blaine. He was a frequent field trialer in the 1970s through the 2000s but hadn't been active for a while due to declining health. He continued to follow the sport closely. I can attest that he constantly thought of his once and future dogs and recounted his field trial exploits every day.
Harry was born in 1931 in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, where he raised cocker spaniels as a youngster. His dad was a laborer and involved in the labor movement. Harry attended The Ohio State University, where he intended to become a veterinarian. He interrupted college to enlist in the Army, serving in Korea as a 2nd Lieutenant and operating an 8-inch howitzer in an artillery unit. When he returned to OSU, he got sidetracked by the law and ended up with a J.D. from Yale University Law School. He never practiced law, however, but returned to his beloved OSU and became a professor in the business school. As those who knew him can vouch, he may not have been a lawyer, but it was difficult to win an argument with him. Harry wrote Ohio's first Occupational Safety and Health regulations, which, of course, the state did not implement, and he also wrote many research grants.
It was on one of those research projects that I met Harry--yes, a workplace romance. He was a Hemingway-esque figure in his safari shirts and many-pocketed vests. He would leave town on Fridays for weekend field trials and disappear for days at a time for championships. He regaled us with tales of his field trial adventures. Early on, Harry owned two winning dogs, Counterstrike and Countercharge, with trainer Gene Uhlman. Later, he had dogs with trainer George Tracy, most notably Foxfire's Rhea in the 1980s. Recently, he co-owned dogs with Karen Conroy in Georgia, who ran them in local trials. In the 2010s, he also owned field-bred cocker spaniels, including Field Champion Columbias Macey (Master Hunting Advanced), with Ohio trainer Jim Karlovec.
Harry always said field trials were a prime example of a functioning anarchy--people getting things done even though nobody was in charge. That was the way he liked it. The outdoor life, hunting, and dogs were Harry's great passions--he also was a terrible flirt, but I won't get into that. I think of him now, the sun behind him, scouting on horseback through those Elysian Fields, following some great, lightly marked dog. Style and a good race: that's what Harry loved.
Robert "Bob" Gove
Submitted by Deb Fazenabker
(Pictured is Restless Red Toolman, Bob's last great champion.)
Robert "Bob" Gove (79) passed away suddenly on December 2, 2023, after struggling for many years with Alzheimer's disease.
Bob spent his youth involved in Boy Scouts, canoeing, family camping trips to Voyageurs National Park and the Quetico Provincial Park, go-cart racing, falconry, and adopting every wild critter he could capture. The family also spent many vacations with the Bradley family in Le Mars, Iowa, where Bob was born. Bob's early years were spent in Herman, Minnesota, and later grew up in Wayzata, Minnesota. He pursued a passion for biking and cross-country skiing, which he competed in competitively. He also served in the Army Reserves.
Bob's love of the outdoors led to him becoming an avid hunter of upland game birds, and he subsequently fell in love with his first Irish Setter. In 1996, he made the mistake of going to a horseback field trial. He ran while everyone else rode. His third-place ribbon got him hooked on his biggest passion - horseback field trials. He devoted constant hours to the sport, training, campaigning, and breeding Red Setters. He won nearly 20 National Red Setter Championships, several Regional Championships, and numerous Dog of the Year awards. He had two of his dogs inducted into the Field Trial Hall of Fame. He worked tirelessly to promote the sport, serving simultaneously as president of the National Red Setter Club and the Northwest Field Association. He filled every role with these organizations as needed for 50 years.
Bob's degree was in Biology, and he began his career at Hennepin County Park Reserve District (Three Rivers Park Districts), where he served for 28 years. He started as the Public Information Officer, which was perfect for utilizing his skills in photography. He moved up in the organization to Naturalist, Director, and ultimately Director of Public Safety. He instigated the mounted patrol program and was instrumental in getting field trials on the park grounds.
In 1982, he met his beloved wife Katherine when she was hired as a park ranger on the mounted patrol. Together, they formed an inseparable team, enjoying the same passion for the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, field trialing, farming, and traveling filled their days. Their favorite trip included an African safari, but other highlights included Alaska, Australia, the Amazon rain forest, the Caribbean, and the National Parks. Both shared a love for historical sites and made many trips to the Mayan ruins in Mexico and Central America.
Bob's love of the outdoors and nature was always the driving force in his life, from his career to his hobbies. He is preceded in death by his mother, Constance (Bradley) Gove, Father Robert Gove, brothers Michael, David, and Willard, and many of his beloved dog family, including Fling, Lefty, Buns, Shorty, Bella, and Binny. He is survived by his wife, Katherine Gove (nee Hartnett), and many loving extended family members.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider donating to the Alzheimer's Association.
Notices Received In January
By Mike Husenits, West Lebanon, Pennsylvania
As is so often the case, when one half of a loving couple from a long-time relationship passes away, the other half is not far behind. Donna Martens, age 84, passed away on December 23, 2023, in Ridgeville, Ontario, just eight months after the passing of her husband, Roger W. Martens, in March of 2023. Roger and Donna were married for 64 years.
Donna participated on the field trial circuit with Roger when they campaigned their winning string of pointers under the banner of Springtime Kennels for many years. She enjoyed the social aspect of field trialing immensely and participated in the organization and management of several well-known events. She served on the Board of Directors of the National Shooting Dog Futurity and was heavily involved in the major events of Region 13 and the New York State Bird Dog Association for several years.
Another dedicated patron of the Field Trial sport is gone; may she rest in peace.
An official entity of United Kennel Club (UKC), the American Field legacy, mission, and Field Dog Stud Book certified pedigree database is carefully managed by UKC for the continued betterment of field trial dogs. UKC is committed to the American Field community, and all hunters, breeders, clubs, associations, and participants.