It is with great sorrow I announce (on behalf of the family) a great loss to the Kerry world of Edith Izant. She died Thursday August 18, 2005 peacefully at home surrounded by her family. She is survived by her husband Heard, her 3 children Stephen, David, and Linda, 4 grand children and 1 great grand child.
Born in 1916 and married in 1938, she and Heard lived in Whittier CA since 1947. She bred under the name of Townshend’s and was a world renowned AKC judge. Her contributions to the dog world and the Kerry breed are numerous. Her accomplishments in the ring and her success with her breeding program will impact the breed for years to come. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers all donations be sent to the Edith Izant (Townshend) Memorial Fund which has been established to honor the memory of Edith Izant and her many contributions for the betterment of Kerry Blue Terrier. This fund therefore will continue her legacy.
For more information you can go to the USKBTC web site and click on the Charitable Funds button or contact me privately. I also have the address of the family for those of you who would like to send cards of sympathy. Unless directed otherwise all donations will be acknowledged in your name to the family.
2458 Eastridge Dr
Hamilton, OH 45011
(Editor’s Note: You can contribute to the Edith Izant Memorial Fund on-line by clicking on this Donations link to the USKBTC website and scroll to the bottom of the page.)
(The messages below were originally posted on the USKBTC’s emaol list, email@example.com. They are posted below with the permission of the authors.)
Carol and I were deeply saddened by the news of the death of Edith Izant. We first met Edith in the early 1970′s when we lived in the Central Valley and joined the Southern California club. She was always a delightlful person, always willing to share her knowledge and experience. She was a founder of the KBTCSC and was active in the club up until the last few years. She was a pioneer in training Kerries in obedience. She also had a keen eye for Kerries, and the Townsend line produced many Chanpions. She was recently honored by the AKC for serving 50 years as a Judge. She judged many specialties, including Montgomery, about 7 or 8 years ago. As a judge, she always had control of the ring, much in the style of Thelma Brown or Anne Clarke. She always judged dogs and would put up a lovely, albeit poorly handled dog over a lesser but professionally handled one.
But there was a lot to Edith outside Kerry Blues.
Edith was born Edith Pratt in Elkhart, IN. Her grandfather was a successfuly business man. He and Edith’s father founded the Pratt Automobile Company around the time of the First World War. The Pratt and its successor, the Elcar were made in Elkhart until 1935.
Her mother was also a strong personality. Edith was born in the Elkhart Community Hospital because her mother wanted to show the people of the town that it was better for children to be born in hospitals, with doctors and nurses in attendance, rather than at home with a midwife.
I had the opportunity to work with a client in Elkhart over a period of two years and came to love the town. I even saw Edith’s old home on a beautiful tree lined street just across from the St. Joseph River. She was a close neighbor of the President of Miles Laboratories, maker of Alka-Seltzer (You remember Speedie). One of Edith’s recent memories of Elkhart was attending a family reunion that included a visit to the Ray Miller Auto Museum and viewing a number of the Pratts and Elcars that are in the collection.
Our sympathy, prayers and best wishes go to Heard and the family.
Edith – We miss you.
Rich & Carol Basler
I began corresponding with Edith in 1965 when I was looking for a foundation bitch to show and breed. She was one of the few who answered my many inquiries. She had a bitch puppy she would sell me, but felt she was too small and suggested I wait for her next litter, which I did. The result was Ch. Townshend’s Pixie O’Toole, CDX, who earned a major at the Associated Terrier Club Specialties (ATC) in New York in Feb. 1968, and finished her Championship at the Louisville KC two weeks later with a major & BB over Specials, owner conditioned and handled “all the way.” Pixie had earned her C.D. in 1967 at the same time she was being shown in conformation. Many bloodlines in the US, Europe, and Scandinavia go back to her.
I first met Edith in 1966 when I came out to CA to show Pixie at the KBTCSC Specialty. I stayed with her and we became good friends. I admired her for her in depth knowledge of Kerries, her absolute integrity, and her willingness to help and mentor those interested in Kerries: trimming, obedience, conformation, breeding, etc. She had a fantastic knowledge of bloodlines and what they produced, and knew breeders all over the world. Her dogs, all home raised with her family, were sound and typey, with excellent temperament and health. When I visited her I had the opportunity to see many of the dogs behind Pixie, invaluable to a new breeder.
When I lived in Tennessee we used to meet and share a motel room at many specialties, and I have fond memories of some of the funny things that happened – the puppy lost in the mattress, the time the water went off while Edith was bathing a dog, getting stuck in an elevator at one of the New York hotels, and many more experiences which we laughed over years later.
I owe most of my success in Kerries to Edith’s support. She had an eye for a dog, and knew what was behind the dogs she used. Edith was familiar with many of the early imports, and incorporated some of the top ones into her bloodlines. Her “marked” catalogs, with a description of each of the dogs being shown, are famous. I have some of these catalogs as well as some pictures and other memorabilia she gave me when she moved from Whittier to LaHabra. I was honored to help her edit her excellent book, The Kerry Blue Terrier (Denlinger’s), now out of print, a collector’s item and invaluable for any Kerry fancier.
Edith had many interests other than dogs. She studied Bonsai with a master, Khan Komai, and had an outstanding collection of plants, some of which she had been training for many years. She and her husband, Heard, were world travelers, even when not judging. Heard was interested in jazz and played several instruments; I listened to many jam sessions at their home.
Edith Izant was a true icon of the breed. She learned about the breed from practical experience, and although she occasionally used handlers, she did most of her own trimming and handling. Among her expressions, “Breed in twice and out once”; “Breeding is one step forward and two backwards”. I honor her memory and everything she taught me. One like her does not come this way very often.
Margo Steinman, Kilmarley Kerry Blue Terriers
Last Updated: 08/26/2005, 7:14 am