(From The American Dachshund, March-April 1977 issue)
In Tribute – Neville Stephens
By Ellen K. Bourgeois (with comments from Sanford Roberts)
Neville Stephens was a delightful man. For years, his columns in The American Dachshund were the pages we turned to first. And the columns were reflections of his personality — interesting, informative, descriptive and most amusing. “Why did I dance so much with the beautiful Dorothy Dorward?” He was one who appreciated the finer things of life, including Dachshunds.
He and his wife, “Miss Lucie,” traveled everywhere and traveled in style, no matter how many dogs went along. And wherever they went they were happily received. In turn, all who came to their Tubac Kennels in Arizona or to their place at St. Helena, California, were graciously received and made welcome.
Over the years, they owned and exhibited many champions. In fact, their trophy room must have boasted more Dachshund plaques than any other spot in the world. If you own a Standard Wire, chances are that in its background you will find that great champion, Brentwald Joshua. The same holds true for their Miniature, American, Canadian and Mexican Champion Tubac’s Wee Johann W.
Back to the columns of this warm person. He didn’t just make us see, through his eyes, the many dog shows attended. We saw all the flowers along the way.
After Miss Lucie died, Neville settled in Carlsbad, California, where he was always a gracious and entertaining host. This man was never too busy to be gracious. To any guest who showed interest, he gave the grand tour through his beautiful gardens —then, when the time came to leave, his parting gift might often be a glass of jelly made by him from fruit grown by him. He was a great cook and trained each of his housekeepers in the only way to go.
‘Twas at this time he started raising iris and showing them. And, as he had done with the Dachshunds, he took almost all the prizes. It pleasured him to be able to say that there was never a day of the year that he didn’t have some iris in bloom. Now it pleasures me to have iris in bloom all year ’round from the bulbs (rhizomes) given to me by Neville. It comforts me, at this time, to see from my window the many blooms – beautiful legacies from a friend.
[Neville R. Stephens left behind what must have been many fond memories of Dachshunds and their people and of his many years of growing beautiful flowers, in late February. Few, if any Dachshund fanciers, knew of his passing until several days had elapsed.
Perhaps two of the most famous Dachshunds owned and exhibited by the late Mr. & Mrs. Stephens were Ch Brentwald Joshua W and Ch Tubac’s Wee Johann W. In the last article the late Mr. Stephens wrote for the magazine, “Reminiscence — about Tubac, Joshua, Johann and Wirehairs,” in September1972 issue, Mr. Stephens reported Joshua’s show record as 5 Bests in Show, 59 Hound Group Firsts and 153 Bests of Variety. Ch Johann, also a Best-in-Show winner, was reported as the Top-winning Miniature Dachshund (all coats) for 1958, 1959 and 1960. Joshua had earlier had a brilliant ring career sponsored by his previous owner, now all-rounder Herman G. Cox of Fort Worth. The records of Joshua and Johann were phenomenal. Joshua’s record may still stand with 59 Hound Group Firsts for a Standard Wire. So, too, was the siring ability of Joshua and Johann. Later relatives of Joshua — Noah, Timothy and Shillalah may have outproduced him. Mr. Stephens once told us that he thought Joshua was the sire of 54 champions. We have no way of verifying the number. Other Mini Wires have had brilliant ring careers, but Johann’s was exceptional for his time in history. – Sanford Roberts]