Diana has given a lifetime of service to the Brittany breed. She has worked non-stop for almost 50 years for the breed, the Western Michigan Brittany Club, the National All Age Championship, the Gun Dog Championship and the American Brittany Club. A local and national club officer, championship supporter, field trial handler and scout, advocate for grounds improvement, breeder, show handler – Diana has done it all.
Diana’s Dad acquired his first Brittany while she was in high school and she became hooked on the breed. In 1972, Diana and Gary acquired their first Brittany, Patches, and joined the Western Michigan Brittany Club. She was bitten by the competition bug early and began showing her Brittanys around 1974 becoming a successful show handler. She and Gary helped at club field trials and eventually purchased a female, Dawn, they began trialing in 1974.
In Michigan Diana was helping with WMBC’s trials and in 1979 she attended her first national championship in Ardmore, OK having been asked by the 3rd VP to be the show secretary for the national specialty show. She was amazed at the number of people attending and how friendly the folks were. Lyle Johnson loaned Gary a horse to ride during the championship. The Johnson’s kindness and friendship began and lead eventually to making Diana’s dream come true!
After hearing about a breeding the Johnsons planned, in 1983 Diana purchased a pup, Renegade’s Kansas Kid. Lyle campaigned Kid to his field championship. When Kid was five, he went to Bob Burchett, a trainer in Iowa. Diana developed her field trialing skills by scouting not only her dog but every other dog on his string as well as flushing birds and handling all of them. In 1992 Diana handled Kid in the ABC National Amateur All Age Championship. After pinning a covey of quail at 56 minutes, Kid was released to finish the hour and was named the Champion. Diana won the Woman’s Handler Award again as she had in 1991 !
The highlight of Diana’s years of service was her handling of her own DC/AFC Renegade’s Kansas Kid to a national amateur championship and his induction into the ABC Dog Hall of Fame. Over the years, Diana’s Kid was bred to and produced many field champions in several generations as well as dual champions and is still producing today.
Since 1979, Diana has given continued service to the American Brittany Club and has attended the national championship every year. She was the Yearbook Editor for 13 years, Hospitality Chairman for 21 years, 2nd Vice President for 2 terms, one of the authors of the ABC Code of Ethics, Membership Chair twice, currently chairs a sub-committee of the Membership for Youth and has been the Judges Education Coordinator from 2008 thru 2020.
Diana has supported the WMBC club serving as President, Vice President, Secretary, Field trial Secretary and Show Chairman/Secretary. She has been the club secretary for 35+ years, served as field trial chair or secretary for 12 years and worked at all events since 1975. She obtained approval from the American Kennel Club for the club to hold shows and has served as show chairman since then to the present time.
During her 20 years as the WMBC’s representative to the Ionia Field Trial Grounds Committee, Diana was instrumental in the proposal for fencing and funding. She held 2 banquets netting $10,000 and $3000 and applied to the Twentieth Century Fund three times, receiving money for the fence fund.
Diana was the Editor of the ABC National Championship Gun Dog Book from its inception to conclusion. Each year the sale of these books went to the Ionia clubhouse improvements, grounds improvements or the fence fund, amounts ranging from $1200 to $600 per year.
As a breeder, mentor and show handler, Diana has handled numerous Brittanys to their Dual Championship and written many articles for publication regarding the breed, its standard and other topics.
Since 2012, Diana has been on the Board of Directors for our Brittany Field Trial Hall of Fame. She and Gary have contributed to and supported our Hall and museum with their time, energy and contributions. In 2019 Diana contacted a well know artist in Michigan, Herbert L. Park, and commissioned him to do a painting of four past national champions from an old black and white photo. Diana and Herb did research to be sure all dogs’ colors and markings were accurately depicted. This painting hangs in the Brittany HOF museum.
From this painting, Diana had large prints made that were sold at the national specialty show; also printed note cards are on sale in the Bird Dog Museum and on our website. Because of Diana, all of the funds generated will enrich our endowment fund.
Few people have served the local and national clubs in so many capacities and dedicated themselves for as many years as Diana has. She surely belongs in the Brittany Field Trial Hall of Fame.