Donald Leigh Dowdle, owner and publisher of The Mid-South Horse Review, died Oct. 24 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was 58.
Mr. Dowdle, Somerville, Tenn., grew up in Mississippi and graduated from Mississippi State University. He was the editor of the university’s newspaper, The Reflector, during his senior year. After graduation he moved to Tennessee and founded The Buffalo River Review. He then acquired The Kerens Tribune in Kerens, Texas, and after a move to Somerville, Tenn., founded The Fayette County Review, The East Shelby Review, The Livestock Review and the annual Field Trial Review for the National Bird Dog Trials.
He published the first edition of The Mid-South Horse Review in April, 1992 based on a shared “…love, interest and respect for horses,” with the idea of providing a forum where riding clubs of all disciplines could share news, event schedules and show results. His involvement with horses began when he attended a Field Trial National Championship in Grand Junction, Tenn., where he rode a rented horse. He subsequently purchased his own horse, and “…then another and then several more…a two-horse trailer, then a four-horse trailer and a vehicle to pull it.”
The Mid-South Horse Review was the first monthly newspaper to cover equestrian events in the tri-state area of Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. He published his last issue the week before his death, although an announcement on their website (www.midsouthhorsereview.com) noted that the newspaper is continuing operations “as Don would have wanted.”
Mr. Dowdle was remembered as a no-nonsense newspaperman who never knuckled under pressure. His editorials were to the point, and his news coverage factual and fair. Among his many journalistic accomplishments was a University of Tennessee Press Award for Best Single Editorial in 1999.
He is survived by his wife, Lee “Sissy” Saunders Dowdle; daughters Laura Ann Dowdle Marshall, Meredith Dowdle and Britain Dowdle; mother Martha Johnson Dowdle, Fulton, Miss.; brother Glynn Dowdle; sister Madge Dowdle; and one granddaughter.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.