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In Memoriam: Isabell Stoffers

Multi-Group AKC judge Isabell Stoffers, of Alta Loma, Calif., died peacefully at home in the evening of Thursday, July 11, 2013. A glamorous and much beloved fixture of the California dog show scene since the 1960s, Mrs. Stoffers maintained a small but highly successful breeding program for Whippets under the Runner’s prefix. The homebred Ch. Runner’s Our Own Charisma and her son Ch. Runner’s He’s The Continental were top winners in the 1970s and ‘80s, handled by this year’s Westminster BIS judge Michael Dougherty. “Tally,” as Continental was called, was No. 1 Whippet in 1983 and 1984, and sired many champions. His half sister Ch. Runner’s Crème de la Crème, bred by Isabell, won BOB at Westminster and an American Whippet Club National Specialty BIS, handled by her then teenage owner Mary Dukes, now an AKC executive field representative. Crème de la Crème was also the foundation bitch for Mary’s Delacreme kennel and the dam of the great sire Ch. Delacreme de la Renta.

Isabell Stoffers is pictured handling Ch. Runner’s Our Own Charisma in the 1970s.

In later years, the Whippets were successfully owned and bred in partnership with Isabell’s daughter, Christy Nelson. Following in the footsteps of many other Runner’s winners before her, their young homebred bitch Runner’s Our Callidora, a great-granddaughter of “Tally,” won Best in Futurity at this year’s AWC National in April, handled by Christy.

Isabell Stoffers was approved to judge the Hound Group in 1983 and all-breeds Best in Show in 1985. AKC approval to judge the Toy Group followed in 1992, the Non-Sporting Group in 2003. Her many judging assignments in the U.S. and overseas included the American Whippet Club National Specialty in both 1989 and 2002, proof that her opinion was greatly respected among Whippet fanciers, and making her one of the few to have judged this show twice. Isabell also judged the AWC North West Regional Specialty in 2007 and specialty shows for many other breeds, including those hosted by the Italian Greyhound Club of America in Ravenna, Ohio, in 1998 and by the Greyhound Club of America in Kennett Square, Pa., in 1999.

Among Isabell’s last judging assignments was Best in Show at the Western Hound Association of Southern California and again Best in Show at the Kennel Club of Riverside all-breed show, both in 2010.

Isabell Stoffers’ bright presence will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She leaves an irreplaceable empty space at ringside at the Southern California shows.

Written by

Bo Bengtson has been involved in dogs since the late 1950s and judged since the mid-1970s in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Japan, China and Russia. He has judged twice at Westminster, twice at Crufts and four times at the FCI World Show, as well as the U.S. national specialties for Scottish Deerhounds, Whippets, Greyhounds and Borzoi.
  • Iva Kimmelman
    Iva Kimmelman July 15, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Thank you Bo for saying it better than anyone else.
    Isabell was one of my mentors, if not my FIRST.
    I owe so much to her and her dogs. I still can’t believe I will never see her again.
    We enjoyed having lunch with her a few times in Eugene at the National.
    She was one of a kind.
    My father was completely in love with her, but she never knew it and neither did my mother!

  • karen howard August 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    I knew Isabell outside the DOG WORLD!
    She volunteered at the Rancho Cucamonga Library for many years.
    I got to know her these past 4 years. She had quite a life. And will be dearly missed.
    My thoughts go out to the family…Karen

  • Cindy Hines August 14, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Thank you Bo, Karen and Iva for your kind words about my mother….she did have quite a life and I frequently told her she needed to write a book, she had so many wonderful stories to tell about growing up, her love of horses and the dogs and of course all of the traveling she was able to do. Mother left us far too soon!
    Thank you again.

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