Dogs in Review Interviews

Joseph E. Gregory, Breeder, Professional Handler, Judge

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It was an honor and a pleasure to interview Joe Gregory, a true gentleman, successful breeder, gifted professional handler, and now a well-respected judge. Joe has been active in the dog show world for almost 60 years. Eighty-one years young, he still judges and plays on a senior baseball team. Joe’s wife Mamie and daughter Evalyn are also involved with dogs, making it a true family affair. Joe loves dogs. He is gentle and polite and always has a smile for the dogs he judges and for their handlers.

SL: Joe, please tell us about your family history.

JG: I was born Joseph Edward Gregory on July 18, 1927 in Cloverport, Ky., a small town on the Ohio River, where before the Great Depression of 1932 over half the population was made up of tile factory and railroad workers. The town was originally named Joesville after me, but because of the abundant clover that grew on the banks of the river, the steamboat captains renamed the river town Cloverport. My mother, Cecil, was originally from another river town called Holt, Ky. She was a homemaker and a devoted, very active Presbyterian church member. Her spirituality was important to all of us, as it was the glue that held us together during rough times. Our home was humble, but we had a happy life.

Steady work was hard to come by in those days, so my Dad, Ed, was a handyman of many talents. He could make or repair anything. Dad worked very hard to supply clothes, shelter and food for his wife and seven children: me, my five sisters — Johnnie, Anna, Mildred, Freda and Wiggie — and my brother Bill, who went missing in action in the Army. Dad was a tinsmith and made buckets for farmers, moonshine stills for the bootleggers, cleaned water wells, and made equipment for cisterns. His very first job was as a fireman for the L & N Railroad that ran through town. My Dad always said, “Small towns lose their community spirit when paved roads are built, because people have a way to leave town.” And the people did leave Cloverport, but it is still on the map.

SL: Were dogs a part of your life as a youngster?

JG: Our family didn’t have any purebred dogs around, only mixed breeds. We always had some dogs that followed us kids home.

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