Shortly before Thanksgiving the Dog World said goodbye to one of the all-time greats of our sport, Roger R. Hartinger. Roger and his wife, Paula, have been one of the most respected and loved judging teams in American Kennel Club history.
His hometown newspaper, The Cincinnati Inquirer, published the following remembrance about Roger’s personal life:
“If we all judged the same, dog shows would be pretty boring.” He was the antithesis of boring, having led one of the richest lives possible. With his wife, Paula, by his side for over seventy-years, he enjoyed an extraordinary life filled with incredible adventures all along the way. They raised four children and loved being a part of their larger connected families. They traveled the world visiting thirty-five countries, and spent forty-five years as internationally recognized Judges for the American Kennel Club.
Roger was successful in his professional life as a soldier, police officer and Director of the Cincinnati Building Department. He will always be remembered for his life full of accomplishments and his deep love for family, friends and the dog show world. Roger left us on November 18, 2020 after a brief illness. Roger was born in 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second son to Charles and Dorothy Hartinger. He enjoyed building and racing cars as a teenager, learned the construction trade from his father, graduated from Elder High School in 1952, and attended the Ohio Mechanics Institute to earn his Associate of Science degree in Industrial Engineering Technology in 1954. After a short career as a draftsman, he joined the Air Force for two years before serving as a police cadet for the Cincinnati Park Police before entering the Cincinnati Police Academy, where he graduated in January 1958. He remained with CPD until 1966. After a year as an insurance adjuster, he continued his career with the City of Cincinnati in the Housing and Building Department, working steadily up the ladder until retiring as the Assistant Supervisor of Buildings & Inspection in 1993.
Along with Paula and his family, Roger devoted himself to raising, showing and judging dogs. His knowledge was incomparable, and his devotion to the sport was immeasurable. Although he leaves a legacy that can never be surpassed, he also left the people who met and knew him countless memories of a man full of life, love and passion for so many things. His warm smile, quick wit, immeasurable kindness and affable nature will always be remembered by all who met and knew him. He served with sincerity and heartfelt joy in many leadership capacities in local and national dog show organizations. He and Paula were two of only a handful of judges approved for judging all breeds.
Throughout all his travels he earned more than enough frequent flyer miles for a first-class seat on his final journey to Heaven. His endless love for Paula and his family will forever be his greatest legacy. He always recognized her first. It was obvious she was his heart and inspiration. They will forever be remembered hand in hand or embracing wherever they were. Their house was always filled with the love and laughter of family, and while Roger was often content to be in the background, he made sure that every detail was attended to. Roger was a proud, intelligent and kind soul with boundless enthusiasm, integrity and love.
Roger leaves his wife, Paula, and their four children, R. Mark (Carolyn), Kathleen (Richard) Skalski, Paul (Lisa), David (Lee Ann), and former daughters-in-law Denise and Marilyn. He was grandfather to Allison Johnston, Andrew Hartinger, Brittany Picard, Chelsea Skalski, Lindsay Skalski, Kyle Skalski, Brittany Snell, Andrea Reinstatler, Kaitlin Hartinger, Julia Hartinger, Anastacia Hartinger, Jason Hartinger and Ryan Hartinger, Zachary Doran, Adam Doran, and seven great-grandchildren, Brenna, Keira, Jaxson, Caleb, Charlie, Agnes and Carter. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Charles. He will be missed more than can be imagined by his family and all who were fortunate to have known him.”
As we begin the new year, we look forward to seeing Paula at the shows and sharing stories of so many happy dog show memories about Roger. May we “always remember” Roger R. Hartinger.
Roger and his wife Paula, recognized by the American Kennel Club to judge every breed, have always been two of the sport’s favorite and highly respected couples.
Photo by Linda Ayers Turner Knorr/Orlando 2017