I first met Mary South in the mid 70's and from then our lives touched in many ways. She was a licensed Real Estate Agent under my Brokerage License for Thomas & Talbot Real Estate; her brother, Hutch, worked for my construction company when my brother Charley and I built townhouses in Mosby Square here in Middleburg; her father 's Dick Hutchinson's, Labrador Retriever, Trapper, spent more time at my house than at his and ultimately was given to me after Dick died; and then of course there was the Hunt.
Mary South was a 26 - 27 year old beautiful young lady when I first rode in a hunt field with her in the mid 70's almost 40 years ago. Over these years this inveterate and highly accomplished horse woman excelled not only in the hunt field but in shows and hunter trials as well winning Mrs. Randolph's Hunter Championship of American at Glenwood Park at least once.
Her efforts with Orange County were not limited to just riding. Mary South helped enlighten novice riders to hunt protocol and traditions (sometimes to their chagrin); she gave unselfishly as a volunteer to all hunt events including our Pair Races, our Team Chases, our Barn Dances, our Point-to-Points, our Puppy Shows and to the Virginia Hound Shows. She was our field Secretary before she became Honorary Secretary to the Hunt in the early 90's - a position she held for 20 years until her passing last Thursday. In that position she was the eyes and ears of us Masters reporting any flagrant abuses of hunt protocol, she took minutes for the Board of Stewards, she got out all of our mailings including Master's letters, fixture cards, Landowner Party invitations, Puppy Show invitations, all of our event invitations, and our Christmas Cards. Besides these hunt duties she handled all the invitations and billings for the Virginia Foxhound Club.
How, you might wonder, did this lovely lady, who seemingly lived for everything Hounds, Horses and Hunting have time for a real estate profession?
Anecdotal to this remembrance of Mary South I must tell you of a hunt with her that I have never forgotten I was so impressed. It was many years ago when Melvin Poe was Huntsman and Mike duPont was Master. We were hunting across from Salamander Farm in the Symington's Friendship Farm back field when we struck a fox which took off running north toward the intersection of Zulla Road and Lambden Silo Road. Hounds set on quickly and in hot pursuit they cleared a wall which just happened to be 5 ft. high. Mike duPont did not hesitate - over the wall he went followed by Mary South, Bud Steuart and myself.
Atop the wall I saw that it was at least a 6 ft. drop and wondered how I could have put myself in such a predicament! Luckily I Made it and the 4 of us went on alone for the next 20 minutes without benefit of Huntsman, Whips, or the rest of the field. I shall never forget Mary South's bravery in taking that wall. And it is that very bravery that helped her fight so stoically the cancer which finally took her from us to that wonderful place where Hunters never fall, Hounds never tire and foxes always get away to run another day.
Good Bye, for now Mary South. You will be truly missed by your family and your Orange County friends. Keep a weather eye upon us and good hunting!
Malcolm Matheson, III is Joint Master of Orange County Hounds, The Plains, VA.