Login

In Memoriam

In Memoriam of the handball community members who have passed away.  Online obituary notices and pictures can be emailed to U.S. Handball This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  

June 2019

Morton (Marty) Goffstein, Las Vegas

The Magic of a Handball:  A Tribute to Hall of Famer and National Champion Marty Goffstein

   The Capell’s and the Goffstein’s have known each other for over 50 years.  Brother Geoff has competed with, and against Marty, since his early days at the San Jose Y.  Although Marty has not played, for some time, his list of achievements is long and impressive. 
   Since he moved to Las Vegas, our visits have been infrequent, but phone calls have been numerous.  Calling Marty always had the same greetings.  “How you doing Marty?”  “I’m doing great, and couldn’t be better!”
   Well, things weren’t great.  After numerous medical issues, we received a call from his daughter Andi, telling us that we better get down there, to say good-bye.  His son Garrett picked us up at the airport, and briefed us on his condition.  He had been unresponsive, for the last two days, and not to expect much.  Driving up to the hospital, I saw a huge Cross.  Imagine that, Marty Goffstein, in a Catholic hospital.  I couldn’t wait to talk to him about that.  Geoff had brought a handball with him, and had it in his pocket.
   When we got into the room, his eyes lite up, but he couldn’t move his arms.  He was so happy to see us. Sandi, his wife, helped us get him into a chair, so he was facing us, eye to eye.  Geoff said, “I have something for you.”  He handed him the ball, and he practically squeezed the air out of it!  Geoff took the ball back and sat down.  “Catch it Marty.”  He threw the ball to him, and it bounced off his chest.  His eyes became focused.  “Let’s try that again.”  Geoff threw the ball, and he caught it.  He bounced it back to us, and this continued for several minutes, Marty catching it every time.  Doctors came into the room, and couldn’t believe what they were seeing!  After the last toss and catch, Marty switched the ball from his left hand to his right, cocked his arm, and gave us that feared look, that we had seen so often.  It meant, get ready for a big hook serve that you have no chance to return. Marty won that last game against us, and that is the Marty that we always knew and loved.
   Marty died the next day, but the magic of a handball, will be remembered by all that saw it, forever.

-Jay and Geoff Capell

 

 

Morton (Marty) Goffstein passed away peacefully after a short illness on July 22, 2019. He was surrounded by his loving family.

Son of the late Max and Mollie Goffstein, Marty left St. Louis in 1960, moving to San Jose, Calif. Marty was the beloved husband of Sandi Goffstein and they were happily married for 42 years. They subsequently moved to Las Vegas, where they resided for 20 years.

While living in St. Louis, Marty spent much of his time actively engaged in sports at the YMHA, participating in basketball, fast-pitch softball and handball. He won many local and state handball championships in both singles and doubles and one National Doubles Championship while living in St. Louis.

Marty’s excellence in handball continued as a resident of San Jose, winning more local and state championships in singles and doubles. In all, Marty won four National Championships. Marty was inducted in the Northern California Handball Association Hall of Fame.

In addition to his wife, Sandi, Marty is survived by his children, Kathi, Andi (Jim), Garrett and Joshua; his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins. Marty’s brother and sister-in-law, Herb (Delores) Goffstein, both preceded him in death. He is survived by his brothers Sig (Judi) and Sanford (Phyllis) Goffstein, plus many friends.

If you wish to make a contribution in memory of Marty, please consider the Northern California Handball Association to support youth development (for more information on how to donate, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or any charity of your choice.

 

June 2019

Bernie Pritchard, Toronto, ONTARIO

Bernie Pritchard passed peacefully in Toronto on June 01, 2019 at age 98. He was a multiple Canadian National champ and won enough local and Northern New York trophies to fill the basement of his house in Toronto, including 10 straight City of Toronto championships. He also represented Canada and placed second to Jim Jacobs at the 1964 World Handball Championships held in New York City in 1964. Bernie was fittingly inducted into the Canadian Handball Hall of Fame in 2008. 

-Ted Pritchard

 

 

 

 

February 2019

Dick Sleeper with wife Kay at the 2004 Three-Wall Nationals. 

Richard Sleeper, Chicago, Ill. 

I can’t remember anything Dick Sleeper told me that was not educational, entertaining, or true. Most of what he told me, he related to his favorite topic –playing handball.
Not that he said much. He’d taken me under his wing when I was not good enough to enter a “C” tournament. His on-court words were usually limited to “nice shot” and “wow” – and I was so bad, he didn’t have to say either very frequently. But he did. The “wow” was probably said in awe of God’s grace in letting the ball do something wonderful after failing to go where I was aiming.

But his laconic persona was “pronounced” in everything he did. Looking back, I can safely say that handball has never had a more understated promoter. It wasn’t just his encouragement of kids, or his financial support of our tournaments (for which he rarely accepted recognition or accolade). The real truth is that Dick unassumingly nurtured the Chicago Metro Handball League from a loose association of police and firemen … to the greatest competitive handball arena America has ever known. For around six months straight, on any Tuesday night, some 200 players enjoyed competition and comaraderie in the League he shaped and quietly held together.

As I remember, our University of Chicago team -- with Vern Roberts, Dave Dohman, Scott Rosenthal, Chris Roberts, Bill Tillery, Marty Wallace, and Dick Sleeper -- won the top division several times. The first time we won, Dick put up his own money so we could have championship jackets. I had no illusions about why I was included – because I was a student, we could use the University’s field house for our matches.

But it was also true that Dick wanted me there – maybe he saw some promise in me that left others stumped. I just wasn’t very good. It was as if God had whispered to him that the world would be a better place if more of us played handball.

At Rainbow Beach, which was ground zero for 3-wall in Chicago, Dick befriended many other aspiring players who were young, hapless, or just plain helpless. While he was good enough to win several tournaments in several venues, he thought nothing of going in the court after four hard-fought games and “hitting it around” with novices, late-comers, and hangers-on. Of course, later in life, his shoulders and elbows would pay the price.

After all that play, and a few beers besides, he’d climb on his trusty 10-speed bike, exhausted, and pedal home, gloves hanging from the handlebars to dry. Home for Dick Sleeper was wherever his beautiful wife Kay was. He had fallen in love with her when she was a nursing student in Chicago. Together, they had three sons, all of whom now mourn the departure of his earthly life. Like us, they know that his spirit of love, acceptance, and quiet pride in our well-being remains in our midst.

-Eli Seaman


January 2019

Mike Weinberger, Moraga, Calif.

Michael (Mike) Joseph Weinberger, 64, died January 25, after bravely battling lymphoma for 15 months. All who met him were moved by Mike’s warmth, intelligence, creativity, integrity, sense of justice, and sharp and absurd sense of humor.

A 1972 graduate of BGHS, Mike earned a BA in Economics from BGSU in 1977 and went on to a 32-year career at UC-Berkeley. His love of handball brought him to the Department of Recreational Sports where he started working part-time and quickly rose to being Director, a position he called “the best job on campus.”  Mike was instrumental in bringing the USHA National Four-Wall Championships to Berkeley in 1988, still the largest-attended national tournament.

As Director, Mike pioneered IT in the 1980s, networking PCs and computerizing the budget process, both rare at the time. He was creative and adaptive, expanding revenue sources, upgrading facilities and expanding access to health, wellness and recreational activities for the entire campus community. The annual campus welcome event, Caltopia, was Mike’s brainchild, as was the B2H cross-campus collaborative custom-designed software, a joint project of IT professionals at UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis and UCLA. B2H is now used throughout the UC system for a wide range of services. Mike also pioneered hydration stations on campus for filling reusable water bottles, that are now commonly found nationwide. Mike received multiple campus awards, including the Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award. He was known for his warm and inspirational leadership, his sense of fairness, constructive and respectful supervision, and his sincere commitment to the well-being and development of staff.

Mike enjoyed reading history books and Foreign Affairs. He loved the humor collection in Funny Times, and gifted the newspaper to his parents and siblings. He enjoyed the old-timey humor and music of KPIG Radio, as well as Oakland A’s baseball, Cal football, Morris dancing, playing the fiddle, and hiking in Bay Area parks.

Mike was a loving and attentive husband, father, brother, son, and friend. He is forever in the hearts of his wife of 39 years, Julie, and his daughter Kathleen (fiancé Andrew Metrick). He is also missed by his mother, Kathleen Natalino, Akron; step-mother, Helene Weinberger, Bowling Green; and his surviving siblings: Elizabeth Phillips, MD; Mary Kay (Mike) Bishop, NH; Stephen (Chris) Weinberger, MA; Ann Weinberger (Rosco Rouse), NC; Margaret Weinberger, Bowling Green; Barbara Weinberger (Kurt Kleinmann), TX; Rosemary Weinberger (fiancé Greg Curtis), MA; Teresa Weinberger, Akron; Janet Weinberger, AL; and 3 step-siblings: Sandy (Chuck) Kern, MI; Sherry Spears, Findlay; and Rick (Stephanie) Chaney, WV. Mike was also a beloved uncle to Howard, Michelle, Kwame, Monica, David, Harolyn, Maura, Peter, Cameron, Elisabeth and Anna; and step-nieces and nephew Cara, Cristin, Callie, Caitlin, and Mason, as well as 6 great-nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Morris J. Weinberger, step-father Agostino Natalino, brother-in-law Harold Phillips, and his older sister Linda Weinberger.

The family is very grateful for the expert and compassionate care that Mike received during his illness at Alta Bates Summit Hospital, UCSF Medical Center, and the Berkeley Comprehensive Cancer Center. Donations in Mike’s memory would be welcome at any of these or any park. A celebration of Mike’s life will be held on Sunday, April 28 in the Simpson Garden Meeting Room, beginning at 4:00 pm, with food and fellowship immediately following.

 

Al Goldstein (far left) with Max Davidoff and Moe Orenstein circa 1954.

Al "the Teacher" Goldstein, Brooklyn, N.Y.

One-Wall Loses Its Teacher

One-wall handball has lost one of its strong competitors of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Al Goldstein, affectionately known as “the Teacher.” 
     Al graduated college as a physical education major, but he didn’t teach the subject long.  Early on in his career he was promoted to assistant-principal, eventually completing his career as a long-standing principal in a Brooklyn elementary school.  An intelligent and gentle soul, the Teacher was a fierce handball player possessed of great speed, power, and a hopping, skidding serve which provided no end of trouble for his opponents.  When Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach Baths ran its weekly sweeps for the best one-wall doubles players in the city, the Teacher was frequently invited along with Hall of Famers Vic Hershkowitz, Moey Orenstein, and, later on the three Obert brothers among others.  Al was good enough to play among those all-time greats.
     Although he never won an open title in either singles or doubles, he championed 4 times in masters doubles: AAU – 1962, and ’69, USHA – 1965 and ’69.  Before becoming a top handball player, Al was a strong enough basketball player in college to obtain membership in City College of New York’s Basketball Hall of Fame.  And after retiring from handball, he became a runner, always finishing the NYC Marathon even when well into his 80s.  In 2015 he was chosen to be a member of the NY Handball Hall of Fame.
     Those who knew him admired both his athleticism and his human decency.  He passed while nearing his 98th birthday.  And only until last year did he stop attending the National One-Wall Championships held in Coney Island.

-Dan Flickstein