Melbourne T.L. Downing Sr., 94

Lawyer, dog show judge

November 07, 2007

Melbourne T.L. Downing Sr., a retired lawyer and businessman who was also a longtime American Kennel Club judge, died of heart failure Monday at the Presbyterian Home of Maryland in Towson. The former Timonium resident was 94.

Mr. Downing was born and raised in Baltimore. After graduating from Polytechnic Institute in 1930, he joined his father's company, Frank Downing Inc., a Baltimore brick and block construction company. The company later became a general contracting firm.

Mr. Downing earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore Law School in 1943 and practiced estate law until retiring in 2000. He also continued to serve as president of Frank Downing Inc. until retiring in 2005.

He also served as president of the Mason Contractors Association of Baltimore from 1966 to 1967.

With his parents, Mr. Downing owned and operated Holly Lodge Kennels in Essex, where they bred German shepherds, Pekingese and pugs. At an early age, he began showing some of their dogs at shows in the area.

Mr. Downing, like his father, became an AKC all-breed judge. He judged his first show in 1938 and traveled throughout the nation and Canada, as well as Sweden, Bermuda, Denmark, Australia and South America, judging shows.

He was named Cycle Dog Food's Dogdom's Man of the Year in 1995 and received the AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. He was a former president of the Baltimore County and Catonsville kennel clubs.

Mr. Downing enjoyed photography and collecting special and rare automobiles, such as a 1938 supercharged Cord, a 1937 supercharged Ford Coupe and a 1955 Chrysler 300, family members said.

His wife of 63 years, the former Dorothy Elizabeth Cook, died in 2001.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

Survivors include two sons, Melbourne T.L. Downing Jr. of Kernersville, N.C., and Wesley E.F. Downing of Timonium; two grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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