"Gone from the clubs, but never far from our hearts."

A retired CIA cryptographer with a "highly interesting" background (much of which remained unknown to the rest of us), Herman Wittsack was a gentle man with a sweet smile.  Having started playing bridge at the age of 70, he made Life Master four years later.  Along the way Herman met Bill Gates and Warren Buffet - and made many, many friends at the bridge table.
SID PARHAM  1943-2024
Sid Parham had not played much bridge once COVID had hit the scene, but prior to that he was a regular at the Rochester DBC games.  A professor of English at St Cloud State from more than two decades, he enjoyed theater, cooking, golf, and writing in addition to his weekly bridge games.
GENE DIEL  1937-2023
Gene Diel's passion for bridge was one of a great deal of passions he held, and he was an exemplary human being at and away from the bridge table.  He enjoyed playing bridge as well as volunteering many hours for various community programs - and was one of the nicest bridge players you could meet at the table.
JEAN WITZ  1931-2023
Jean was a terrific player and partner.  Born in Cape Town, she earned her bridge chops in South Africa; when she emigrated to North America, she was happy to play with anyone as a partner and was an extremely gracious player.  Jean became an American citizen on the same day that she became a Life Master!  Like so many other nice players, she'll be missed at the table and away from the table as well.
EVIE ESTENSON  1927-2023
Northfield lost a great friend and terrific tablemate with the passing of Evie Estenson.  For those who didn't know her, Evie ran the bridge club in Northfield which she started at age 89 - because she needed black points to become a Life Master!  She attained that title (and even Bronze Life Master) at age 91.  She played with her sister Audrey (from Omaha) right up to a few weeks before her passing at age 96.  She will surely be missed both at and away from the bridge table.
KORY SOLARZ  1937-2023
From Connie Nelson in St. Cloud:   With profound sadness the St Cloud Duplicate Club announces the death of our Club Manager, Kory Solarz.  Kory was a character who made our club fun.  He knew how to tease everyone, starting out a game with lines such as: “Good luck to some of you.”  When a player accomplished a bridge milestone, they might get a present from Kory - a signed photograph of himself!  Kory was a man of character.  Everyone trusted his director calls.  He was informed and fair.  Kory had a soft, fun way of soothing ruffled feathers or quieting a raised voice.  He worked tirelessly for our club, and was there every, single game.  Simply put, Kory was loved!  Kory's Celebration of Life will be held Friday September 8th between 1 and 4p at the Sartell Community Center.
GENNY RICE  1929-2022
Always with the sunniest of dispositions, Genny will be missed both at and away from the bridge table.  Genny "went out on top", having just scored a 74% Speedball game and coming in 1st out of 228 pairs with her longtime partner, Greg Caucutt, in what would be her last bridge game.

Getting to be 93 years old and still able to play bridge is a remarkable achievement in itself, and she was most recently honored as Rochester's newest Diamond Life Master.  She loved a party and was always dressed to the nines!
Vern was a solid bridge player who always made the most out of any hand he was dealt.  St. Cloud's club manager Kory says of him, “Vern didn’t have the master points, but I considered him an A player.”  Vern fiercely loved bridge and his local club.  Living near Alexandria MN, he drove one and a half hours each way to attend at least one weekly game.  At one of the last games he played, knowing that his health was failing, Vern bought pizza for everyone.  He stood and said a “thank you” for the joy he had received from playing bridge and from our St Cloud “bridge family!”
GLORIA MIZE  1940-2021
Gloria served the St. Cloud club in many ways; she directed the Wednesday game, she initiated and supported a 199er side game, she taught bridge lessons, and she telephoned endlessly to arrange partnerships.  She was a skilled player who earned nearly 2,500 master points, and was an inspiration to many.  She encouraged all of us to continue to learn and better our game, and to play with love for the game.
DAVID WARNE  1953-2021
Dave was a strong, kind competitor who played with many partners.  A St. Cloud State University professor, he was one of our "young" players and was only 68 when he passed.
ROGER MORD  1944-2021
Roger enjoyed reading, playing bridge, gardening, and family.  He played in the 199er games, and was a very friendly competitor at the bridge table - who brought a quiet inegrity to all that he did.
Betty had a love for bridge, and an even bigger lust for life.  89 years young when she passed away, she still would "flirt" with the younger male players calling out "hey, good looking!"  Known as much for her potato salad as her ever-present smile in her eyes, she will be missed.
JUDY HAMMOND  1941-2021
Judy was a fixture in the St Paul bridge community for decades.  She was very good at the game she loved, and mentored many new players.  Judy is remembered for her wonderful sense of fashion and style, which was her trademark.  With a beautiful smile, kind heart, fun personality and great sense of humor, she will be greatly missed by all.
JOHN MELANCON  1943-2021
John was a fierce competitor of the game of bridge, but his table presence was always kind and helpful.  St Cloud players will miss his smiling face and wonderful sense of humor.  
Grant played bridge as a fierce competitor, but was such a friendly presence at the table!  He played with several different partners, was a Gold Life Master, and was always ready to pitch in whenever he was needed.  In 2010, he was the committee convener when four disparate bridge clubs in Rochester decided to merge.  The bridge community will miss him, cowboy hat and all.
Peder passed away peacefully at 93 years old, playing bridge right up until the end.  He was a fixture in the Minnesota bridge world; in addition to being a fine player for decades, Peter was a friend and teammate to many, as well as a great guy.  
Bill was a wizard with numbers throughout his life, and helped to keep his mind sharp by becoming a Life Master bridge player.  He was active in the community, including youth sports, his local church, the Edina Rotary, and Minneapolis Shriners.  He (and especially his signature one-liners!) will be missed.
Thomas passed away suddenly at the age of 60.  He played bridge at the St Paul Bridge Center during the evenings and on Sundays, as he was still working.  His regular partner was Jim Essex, and they teammed up with Larry and Patti Huiras for many teams events. . .but all will miss him.
DICK KIELTY  1938-2020
Dick was a quiet man with qualities and talents to treasure and admire.  Known as "Kilts" to many, he started playing bridge in the card room of Coffman Memorial Union in 1957.  His lifelong friend, Ron DeHarpporte, remembers Dick as playing bridge the way he lived his life, with the highest integrity and honesty that set him apart from most others.
BRUCE BOJE  1948-2019
Bruce was passionate about life, his wife and family, his career and his hobbies.  Bruce was a fierce competitor at the bridge table, but never criticized his partner or teammates.  In team games, he lifted up the spirits of his teammates despite any errors on their part, and always focused on how he could have improved a play, a defense, or a bid regardless of whether the result was a top or bottom.  Bruce approached bridge as a partnership game and developed symmetric methods to handle all hand types.  Bruce also loved Mexican food and beer!  When attending out of town tournaments whether in Toronto or anywhere in Iowa, beer was a requirement after the evening session and if Nachos accompanied it, life didn’t get better than that.
EVAN SACHS  1932-2019
Evan was a long standing member of our bridge community; he was a superb friend and contributor to our bridge world.  Always with a smile on his face, he enjoyed bridge and contributed to the game deeply.  He worked hard to get bridge into Minnesota schools 15 years ago, but was determined and managed to have some classes arranged.  Evan was regarded by many as a huge and wonderful influence on our bridge community.
MARY MEINECKE  1932-2019
Mary was one of the first people you'd meet when arriving at the Bridge Center of St Paul.  She was a teacher and game director.  She served on the Board.  She always sat at Table #1, which put her in line with the front door, and no one would dream of sitting in her seat of honor!  Mary played a very uncomplicated game, and yet she didn’t need a lot of conventions - her declarer play was phenomenal.  Two days before her trp to the hospital, she came in 1st overall with a 60%+ game in St. Paul - "going out on top".
JEAN LEIGHTON  1926-2019
Jean started playing the game of bridge at the age of ten (10!) - and competed right up until her passing, having played in St. Cloud's Sectional at the age of 92.  She was a great volunteer and a classy lady - she and her family hosted and paid for the Sunday dinner at the St. Cloud tournament for everyone over many years.  Her competitive spirit was always accompanied by the highest ethical standards and concern for her partner's and her opponent's enjoyment of the game.  She will be missed!
JACK RHATIGAN  1931-2019
Jack was a fixture at the Twin Cities Bridge Center, and was one of our top local players for decades.  He was very skilled, cool and calm at the table; at the end of 2018, Jack was the #9 masterpoint holder in Minnesota.  Especially remarkable considering he had been experiencing more and more health issues as the years passed.
PAUL NESVIG  1942-2019
Paul was a good bridge player, a good friend, and a good guy.  He passed away after a long struggle with cancer, but he would celebrate his cancer anniversary by throwing a pizza party at the Twin Cities Bridge Center.  He loved golf as much as he did bridge, playing a conservative but very sound game of cards.  During his lifetime, he had taken about forty years off from bridge, but kept up with the game by reading every Bridge World magazine during that time.
STUART OSLAND  1944-2019
(From Larry Huiras:)  "I remember Stu.  What I remember most about Stu was his great gift for storytelling.  Several occasions after sectional tournaments, I remember when a number of us would sit around after the postmortem and listen to Stu regale us with a bridge story or two all the while downing a dram or several of Scotch.  Stu was a master at timing and setting the scene for the fall – at least momentary – of some well known bridge icon or another.  In another time he would be likened to Homer.  Sadness would follow when Stu suffered a stroke that affected his ability to speak.  I like to think that as long as some remember you, then you are still, in some sense, part of this world.  Stu - I remember you and always shall."
Terry was a very long time, top notch bridge player in our community who was always friendly and usually had a smile on his face.  For more than forty years, he was one of our fine players that went along with his smile.  He played with his son, John, who called Terry "the best natural bridge player that I ever played with or against."
Carol always had a smile on her face, always was a welcome addition as a partner, a teammate - and yes, as an opponent.  For over fifty years, she and husband John were a fearsome duo at the bridge table.  And Carol continued her winning ways with son Bill and other partners, like Greg Caucutt, so frequently doing well.  Besides being a genuinely nice person, she always had time to listen, smile, and be involved.  Her acumen at the bridge table was top-notch, but she was always patient and kind with beginner/intermediate players.  Carol personified what it means to be a world-class player - always dressed for the occasion and was ready to compete.  Yet, she always took time to socialize with all, and, most importantly, Carol enjoyed herself and helped others to have fun, too.
TOBY FEIGES  1938-2018
Toby may not have been well known to many of our newer bridge players, but she and her husband Dale were both fine bridge players for many, many years.  She was a fine bridge player, successful, fun, had a great sense of humor and loads of friends.
TERRY BORNE  1945-2018
Terry "The Bird" Borne was one of our strongest competitors during the 1970's, 80's and 90's.  He was also one of the most jovial, fun, creative, and outgoing players of the era.  Playing on a team or as a partner with Terry was an experience which always offered an excellent chance of coming out a winner.
JOHN WESTROM  1928-2018
John was a fine and friendly competitor and all around excellent man.  It's rare for such a good player to be so widely loved.  John was a kind parner for beginners - and a challenge for the experts who competed with him.
GUS DOTY  1934-2018
Gus was an intergral part of bridge in Minnesota for decades as an active player and a committed volunteer.  Gus was the Unit 103 President for many years, a terrific tournament organizer, grandfather to great caddies, he was one in a million!
BOB HUBER  1953-2018
Bob was never one to complain at the bridge table, always with a crazy story to uplift any teammate's morale.  In addition to bridge, food, and cats, Bob was a great lover of the arts, a family man with an endless supply of cousins and nephews, nieces, a lover of languages, puns, humour, and life.  He also knew the truth and was never shy to speak against an injustice.
SUE SHORTER  1948-2018
Sue passed away at the Little Hospice in Edina; a woman with many talents, interests, and many friends, she was always seen with a smiler on her face.  Sue loved to play bridge and it showed as she smiled throughout all her sessions.
A long time friend and fine player passed away the last week in 2017.  Lee and his almost forever partner Dianne Carr competed - and frequently beat - the competition.  They played bridge on a Tuesday morning in Minong, and later that day at some point, Lee was gone.  His many friends and bridge cohorts will miss this friend, partner, and teammate.
AL MALMON  1929-2017
One of the "old guard" players, Al was often found both at duplicate and rubber bridge games, and more often than not, successful at each.  He was always polite, competitive, and garrulous.  Al had a reputation for high ethics in both the business world and the bridge table.
JON WEINBERG  1934-2017
Another one of our long time members, Jon Weinberg passed away on September 12th.  We remember John cometing with and against friends for many years, in addition to having a distinguished career and fine family.
TOM HAMMOND  1934-2017
"Tom was one of the most active and giving bridge players ever at the Bridge Center of St. Paul" (Kim Hayward).  Tom played for many years, entertaining requests for both lessons and entering into mentoring relationships with new players.  He would often show up during a game with a huge box of donuts!  Our condolences to Tom's wife Judy and all of his family.
LARRY OAKEY  1937-2017
The loss of our beloved Larry Oakey devastated the Minnesota bridge community; a mainstay in Minnesota's bridge world for over half a century, no one had an overall impact on the Minnesota bridge world more than Larry.  This beloved elite player, director, mentor, volunteer, comedian, movie buff, and dear friend will be missed by everyone.  We were very happy to have known him and to have shared his love for the game we all love.
BRENDA TRAVIS  1938-2016
Brenda succumbed to injuries from a tragic auto accident, passing away in October, 2016.  She was active in the Rochester DBC, and had been an avid tournament goer for years.  Brenda had volunteered to chair local tournaments in the Rochester area many times.  She loved to travel, and "her laugh could be heard all over the room" according to Sue Greenberg.
COLIN KEHE  1943-2016
Colin was one of our long time, excellent players.  He is survived by his lovely wife and bridge partner of 27 years, Theresa.  The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Doctors Without Borders.  Every player in our bridge community is so valued!  Colin will be greatly missed.
Jonathan had battled Parkinson's disease for some time; he was an iconic member of our bridge community and will be dearly missed.  It's difficult to know that Jonathan will no longer be giving the rest of us a tough time at the table - or attempting to share his baggie full of vegetables and rotting fruit with others.  No one who knew Jonathan will forget him.
Gordy suffered from liver cancer, and lost his battle after a short hospital stay.  He was a fantastic person and a superb bridge player; his long time partner, Terry Lijewski, and everyone else will sorely miss him.
Murray was one of the top bridge players in Minnesota for decades.  As recently as 2015, he was 53rd on the Top 100 list, despite being unable to play bridge for years due to health issues.  In addition to a never ending sense of humor, he was a prolific writer and communicator.
ANNE ZIOMEK  1934-2015
Anne was kind, funny, an excellent partner and a thoughtful bridge player.  She was just the sort of friend and competitor that everyone wanted to have!  We were fortunate to have her in our midst for many years.
RUSS WEIKLE  1934-2015
From Ron DeHarpporte:  "Russell was one of my favorite partners and we played as partners and team mates for many years.  Some would say that he could be a difficult partner and I would be the first to say that he was not shy about suggestions of how his partner might have made a better play or bid.  Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed played with him, and Russ and I won many events over the years.  Russell suffered a long time with Alzheimers.  But those of us who have been around awhile will remember him as a director, teacher, and fine player for whom bridge was an important part of life.  In many ways, Russ contributed a lot to our game."
RUTH BENNETT  1921-2015
Ruth was one of our most capable - and classiest - members.  She was in remarkably fine condition at the age of 94, experiencing some difficulties only in the last few weeks of her life.  Despite being one of our oldest competitors, Ruth had a fine sense of the game.  Outplaying opponents who were a fraction of her age was not an unusual occurrence.  She was a gem of our bridge world and will be missed.