Minnesota Bridge has yet one more loss to report. Joyce Olson passed away on May 18th, after a long battle with heart disease. A memorial service will be held this coming Friday. Details can be found at her obituary.
Bill Voedisch was kind enough to share these memories of Joyce, his long time friend and fellow bridge lover.
This past year has been a difficult one for our bridge community. Too many of our players have left us - and today, we are saddened to announce that one more has departed: Jerry Lee.
For many years, Jerry Lee was one of Minnesota's leading lights. Not only was Jerry in the winning circle frequently, he also was a strong mentor of upcoming players. Indeed, one of those players, Joe Grue, is now a household name in the international bridge world. Jerry played a key role in Joe's development - plus other top players in our community.
I tried to look up Jerry's current masterpoint total. Unfortunately, however, as he was no longer able to play bridge in recent years, his record is not listed at ACBL. Nevertheless, in 2009, the last year for which there is a record, Jerry had earned over 10,000 lifetime masterpoints - one of only 3 players in our state to have done so.
Jerry's obituary can be found here. And, some remembrances from friends of Jerry's can be found below. Our thanks to Joe Gruem Bob Balderson and Sue Grue for sharing their friendships with Jerry with us.
As many of you know, the memorial service for Tim Wernz is this coming Friday.
The directions in Tim's obituary, however, weren't very clear. So, if you are planning on attending, please check this site for the address and directions.
Anyone who has played in our bridge community during the past 30+ years knows that Tim Wernz was one of Minnesota's most successful competitors. In partnership with John Boeder, Boeder-Wernz presented one of the most fiercesome and winning pairs to come out of our state. And for the last few years, everyone in our community has been aware that Tim fiercely fought pancreatic cancer. We marveled at how Tim managed to battle against the disease that was so unrelenting against his body, as he nevertheless continued to produce a tough bridge game.
Yesterday, that fight came to an end.
Tim's good friend and regular partner, Irwin Boris, has kindly shared thoughts about Tim with us. Irwin has well captured Tim and his many accomplishments - both at the bridge table and away.
A memorial for Tim will be held on Friday, April 19th. Details can be found in Tim's obituary.
Please join me in sending condolences to Tim's wife, Susan, and the rest of his family.
As the years go by, we lose too many of our long time top notch competitors and friends.
Here is a remembrance from Bill Voedisch about one of Minnesota's leading players and volunteers: Dorothy Kantor Buchanan.
While shooting some events in St. Louis, two gentlemen excitedly came up to me. They'd made it to the semi-finals of a Bracket III knock-out in St. Louis. With the points that they'd earned, Charles Frisch of St. Louis Park entered into the realm of Life Master.
Please join me in congratulation Charles - and wishing him the best in his many competitions to come!
Forest had been battling cancer for some time. Knowing that he did not have a long time with us, as reported, Forest planned a lovely celebration of his life and bridge friendships last November. Finally, though, Forest's fight ended on Tuesday, February 12th.
Forest was one of our area's strongest competitors. With over 6068 masterpoints, Forest ranked 23rd for lifetime achievement in the state.
Nancy, Forest's daughter, shared with bridge friends what his last weeks were like.
For three weeks, Dad had been bed-bound. Near the end, he mixed his time with Mom, kids and grandkids - and the other side. Family gently thanked him and wished him God speed. Dad would shake his head and wave to whoever in the Beyond. In one of his last clear-eyed moments, I asked him if he was seeing others and talking with the angels. He nodded "yes" - then nodded "yes" again when I asked if he were arguing with them. He always did it his way!
Dad would want all his friends to know how dear you were to him, and that he was grateful for all your friendships.
At the Grace Church Chapel in Eden Prairie at 11:00 on Wednesday, February 20th, a memorial service will be held. Visitation will be one hour prior. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to The American Cancer Society. Forest's obituary in the Star Tribune can be found here.
At the beginning of each new calendar year, we look back at the achievements of our Minnesota players. One of those markers is masterpoints earned; specifically, masterpoint totals for the top 100 players in our state.
To be ranked in the top 100 of our players, one needed to have earned a total of 2371.27. To be in the top 10 of our players, a lifetime total of 7573.83 was required.
Please note that although masterpoints are a general method of judging the skill and accomplishments of our players, the masterpoint system is only an imperfect judge. Some of our players, for many reasons, have had more or less time to compete locally, in tournaments and on the national stage. Some Minnesotans have more modest masterpoint holdings, yet are quite fine players.
It is also important to acknowledge that all masterpoints are earned with partners and teammates. Although I, your blogmaster, am amazed and humbled to be at the top of this list, I am quite well aware that I could not achieved what I have without others. Fine partners and teammates, of which some of us are blessed to have, are critical to success. Treat those friends and compatriots with care!
So - with no further ado, here is Minnesota's standings as of the end of 2012. Good luck to everyone in all your games and tournaments and masterpoint-gathering for 2013!
This week has been a difficult one for the bridge world. A few days ago, we lost our friend Cecil Frank. Yesterday, national champions Marshall Miles and Ira Rubin died.
So did Verda Gould.
Verda never won a national championship. Nevertheless, in every way that matters, Verda was a champion in our community. Tireless volunteer, trainer of caddies, tournament organizer, board member, District 14 president - Verda was all this. And, of course, she was also a passionate competitor and friend.
Thank you, Patti and Sharon. And thank you, Verda. You have made your mark on bridge in Minnesota in so many wonderful and special ways.
Most of bridge is fascinating, fun, thrilling, intriguing, challenging and a host of other fine adjectives. One part of our game, however, is sad: saying goodbye to old friends.
Larry Oakey reported today that our bridge community lost one of our longtime members: Cecil Frank. Here are some words from Larry about Cecil and his impact on the Twin City Bridge Center and bridge in Minnesota.
Cecil Frank was a fine player. During his bridge career, he earned over 4,000 masterpoints, many from wins. Yet, although Cecil was an excellent player, he was known more for his superb demeanor. In the over thirty years that Cecil played bridge, no one had a bad word to say about him - and he never uttered a bad word about others. Cecil was a fixture at the Twin Cities Bridge Center for decades.
Regular partners of Cecil's were Charles Howard, Don Priewert, Verda Gould and more recently, Dave Hellwig. The late Mary Finnegan also frequently sat across from Cecil.
Recently, I was appointed to the ACBL Goodwill Committee. In my opinion, however, Cecil has been "the Goodwill Committee" in the Twin Cities!
Late November, one of Minnesota's top and longest competing players, Forest Lowe, celebrated. While battling serious illness, Forest decided to enjoy while the enjoying was good. So, he scheduled a party at the Twin City Bridge Center.
Forest and friends enjoyed lunch, some champagne and a fine historical talk from Forest, complete with a slide show. Many positive comments came from those in attendance - and - of course there was bridge!
For those who are curious as to how Forest is doing now, he faces more health challenges. Nevertheless, Forest is in fine spirits and relishing the photos and memories of his TCBC party.
Thanks to everyone for making the day so special - and to Forest for setting the bar for a successful bridge career so high.
With great sadness, we must report the passing of Sharon Meerschaert on Friday, September 28th.
Some of our newer players may not know Sharon. Declining health kept her away from the duplicate tables in more recent years. Yet, for many years, she and husband Paul Meerschaert were "regulars" at the duplicate club - in addition to very happy partners in life.
Those of us who knew her well send our condolences to Paul. Sharon will be missed.
Information about our friend and upcoming services below. Also, you can view Sharon's obituary at this link.
As most of Minnesota knows, Ben Kristenson of Duluth represented the United States in the Damiani Cup (under 21) in the 2012 World Junior Championship in China. Ben's dad, Curt, was the team captain for USA #2. Curt kindly sent me photos from Ben's exciting competition, beginning with a meeting with Bob Hamman in the Summer NABC in Philadelphia.
Congratulations to Ben for qualifying as one of our two teams, and for playing against other youth competitors from around the world! Enjoy the photos!
Dorothy Kantor Buchanan was one of the leading stars of the Minnesota bridge world for decades. In 1982, Dorothy won the Smith Life Master Women's Pairs with another top player in our state, Barbara Morris. With well over 6300 masterpoints, Dorothy was #19 for leading MN masterpoint holders.
For more years than most of us can count, Dorothy was a fixture at the Twin City Bridge Center - and she was always a contender.
We extend condolences to Dorothy's family, and to the many friends she had in our bridge community.
Ben and Curt are headed for China, where Ben will compete in the 14th World Youth Bridge Team Championships. Dad Curt is the captain of Ben's team.
Best of luck competing against the world, Ben!
Recent months have been difficult for Minnesota's bridge community. We are saddened to report the loss of one of our oldest members: Adella Lally died June 14th at the age of 94.
Adella was a fixture at the Twin City Bridge Center morning duplicate. Adella lived less than a mile from the club, so Teri Blu often would call on Adella to serve as a fill in player. Teri or Scott Lutgens would jump in their car, zoom over to Adella's to pick her up and head on back to the Center. Once in her seat, Adella had a fun time playing - irrespective of who her partner might be. She enjoyed good results and shrugged off the less than stellar ones. What mattered to her that she was still playing the game....
Adella will be missed.
Sunday's paper has a lovely obituary about our friend. Services shall be held on June 29th.
The Minnesota bridge community is sad to say farewell to another of our longtime members. Dorene King died on June 12th. Her memorial service will be Friday at 11AM in Stillwater. Dorene's obituary can be found here.
Dorene was one of the first people I met in the bridge community. In the late '70's, she welcomed me to The Bridge Center at 60th and Nicollet.
Our condolences to Dorene's family and to all those who shared a lifetime of memories with our friend.