|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.
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.
Bruce Kennedy, Grosse Pointe, Mich.
Bruce was born on July 8, 1926 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The family moved to Michigan soon after where he spent his youth both in Detroit and on a family farm near Port Hope. His 50 plus years of military and civil service began in the Navy during WWII. After the war, he joined the Detroit Police Department, where over a 20 year period, he rose to the rank of Detective Inspector and held numerous positions including Commander of the Armed Robbery/ Major Theft Bureau, The Juvenile Divisions and Chief of Detectives. Bruce was selected by the FBI to attend the FBI National academy. After graduation, he served as the Detroit Police Department-FBI liaison. Bruce attended Wayne State University where he earned Bachelor & Master Degrees in Police Administration and Criminal Justice, taught night school, and co-authored a book with his son, Professor Daniel B. Kennedy.
After retiring from the Detroit Police Department, Bruce accepted the position of Chief of Police in Grosse Pointe City; after which he merged the police and fire departments becoming the Director of Public Safety and served for 25 years. He is a life member of the FBI National Academy Associates and the Wayne County Association of The Chiefs of Police.
Bruce’s love of handball started in the early 1950’s at Detroit’s Northeastern YMCA and spanned almost 70 years. His high level of athleticism, skill and passion earned him a multitude of local, state and national championship titles including the honor of being the first inductee into the Detroit Athletic Club Hall of Fame.
Bruce served as president, board member and trustee on numerous committees, organizations and boards including the Detroit Police and Fire Pension Board, The Detroit Municipal Credit Union, The Diversified Members Credit Union, The Hundred Club of Detroit, The Michigan Handball Association, The Detroit Athletic Club Black Ballers, The Michigan and International Police Chiefs Association, The Detroit Police Sergeant-Lieutenants Association.
Of all his life achievements, Bruce cherished and was most proud of his deep commitment and 67 years of marriage to his loving wife Italia, his loving family and his devoted relationships with close friends.
Loving husband of Italia (nee DiCurzio) for 67 plus years. Beloved father of Daniel Bruce (Shirley) Kennedy, Mario Bruce (Amy) Kennedy, Vita Marie (Christopher) Morse and John Francis Kennedy. Dear grandfather of Kelly Kennedy, Katie (Anthony) Bologna, Daniel Kennedy, Jonathon Morse, Christina Morse and great grandfather of 5. Brother of the late Betty Galloway, the late Mary Jane Bryant, the late Norma Decker, Patricia Hall and Jenny Siemianowski. He was also predeceased by his parents, Daniel and Ethel (nee Bruce) Kennedy.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Hundred Club of Detroit, P.O. Box 1018, Fenton, MI 48430. The Hundred Club is a non profit organization that supports the families of fallen police and fire officers in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.
Pat Kennedy, Simi Valley Calif.
The handball fraternity in Southern California lost one of the “good guys," December 19, 2018, due to heart failure. Myron “Pat” Kennedy, better known as “Pat”, was born on February 15, 1948. He is survived by his wife Sheri and four children: Christopher, 35; Riley, 26; Ryan, 24; and Reece, 18.
Pat was a track and football star at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in the mid 1960s. He continued his athletic career when he discovered Handball in his early 30s and played continually until about a year ago when heart failure started to take its toll on his endurance. He was a fine club player and known as a competitive “retriever”. He played at the A and B level in both singles and doubles most of his life.
I first met Pat at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in the mid 1970s and for many years thereafter, he was my usual Sunday morning game. I do not recall Pat ever calling a misconceived hinder nor can I remember him ever complaining about my score keeping, as I often couldn’t remember who had the lead!
Pat loved history too. His father was a history professor and it certainly had an impact on him. We would often discuss aspects of American and world history, including current politics. In fact, I am not certain if he was a Democrat or Republican as we never had an argument – come to think of it, we never had an argument on the court or off.
I will sorely miss my buddy and handball friend.
Jack Weiss, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sadly, On December 17,2018 Pittsburgh lost its JCC/Chappy Goldstein Handball Club patriarch, Jack Weiss, at the young age of 85. Jack’s colorful on-court demeanor, even at 83 years of age (all-out effort and diving re-kills, while wearing his signature bandana, muscle shirt and tie dye shorts) exemplified what handball is all about---a lifetime competitive sport for rugged individualists. Jack’s passions were God, carpet, family and handball (not necessarily in that order). Everyone knew that “Handball was Jack’s life.”
His reputation and intensity for the Perfect Game extended far beyond Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill to wherever his travels took him, especially Florida . It wouldn’t surprise anyone if Jack has already renewed his “friendly” games against past JCC legends Zu, Herbie, Edelstein, Orlove, Blakely, Herbst, Zundy, Marty, Max, Saul, Abe, Joe, Lennie, Willie and the commissioner, Frank Altmar. Jack would have excelled in one-wall handball, where the “legal hinder” is the essence of the game.
All of Jack’s victories were recorded in his confidential (and always handy) “little black book”, where he cataloged his victories against the vanquished opponents he left behind: Jerry, Bill, Itzy, Will, Jim, Bill and Mel (See photo), as well as Ronnie, Solly, Freddie and Rick. We will all miss Jack’s friendship, wit, kindness, sage advice, strength of character and force of personality (especially on display within the confines of our squared circle). Rest in peace, Jack.
Thomas Clemens, Saginaw, Mich.
Clemens, Thomas "Tom" (10/14/1954 - 11/27/2018) of Saginaw, Michigan, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, surrounded by his family. He was 64 years old.
Thomas B. Clemens was born on October 14, 1954 in Saginaw to the late Thomas T. and Donna Elizabeth (Pratt) Clemens. Tom graduated from St. Stephen High School in 1972. He enjoyed playing baseball, softball, football and basketball, being a very active athlete in his younger years. Tom worked for Martin Chevrolet for over 20 years, and then Kremin Inc. for the last 15.
He remained active as a handball player, winning the Saginaw YMCA Handball Championship 16 times, the most in Saginaw history, and was a lifetime member of the YMCA.
Tom is survived by his siblings: Diann (Mark) Tyrrell, Dorris Dycewicz, Edward Clemens, Patricia (John) Krogman and Martin Clemens; nieces and nephews: Jenni (Joel) Sickert, Jeff (Holly) Tyrrell, Lisa (B.J.) Bonkowski, Kari (Andy) Sullivan, Elizabeth (Dan) Propp, Mary (August Voisine) Vasquez and Jaime (Tom) McKenna; great nieces and great nephews: Clint, Kevin and Daniel Sickert, Luke and Jack Tyrrell, Taylor, Syris and Rowan Bonkowski, Michael, Liam, Leila and Mia Sullivan, Isabelle, Hailey and Lili Propp, Benjammin Vasquez; dear friends, Diane and Bill Reese. Tom was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Mick Dycewicz; a dear great aunt, "Auntie" Naomi Isabella Peterson.
Michael Dikman, Lake Success, N.Y.
Mike Dikman: Champion - 26 Years and Beyond
At 6’ 3” and 230 pounds Mike Dikman was always a powerhouse on the 1-wall court in singles and doubles. Frequently he was a quarter-finalist and semi-finalist in national singles tournaments. In 1970 he reached his pinnacle in tournament singles losing to Steve Sandler in two in the final round. Interestingly, however, eleven years later, in 1981, after Sandler had won the USHA open singles championship, Mike defeated him, only days later, for the masters singles title! In 1975 and ’76 Mike was national YMCA singles champion.
In doubles, from the mid-‘60s through the early ‘70s, Mike was nearly never absent from the semi-final round. And in 1974, partnered with Arty Reyer, Mike was the year’s AAU national 1-wall doubles champion. In ’75 and ’76 he was national YMCA doubles runner-up. In 1984, well past 40 and still superb, with partner Lou Russo, Mike was USHA national doubles runner up, and that same year, with Mike Demetriou, he was national indoor 1-wall doubles champion. In ’85 and ’86, with Demetriou, Mike was USHA national indoor doubles runner-up. His first appearance among the top four teams in a national tournament came in 1964 while partnered with Bob Sparrow; his last appearance in that exalted round came in 1990 while teamed with Mike Demetriou. That’s an amazing 26 years near the top of the 1-wall game!
While continuing to play in open doubles events and well after retiring from open play, Mike also entered masters events. Thus he continued to remain at the top or near the top of that level of play, eventually winning eleven national masters championships and earning the title, National Hall of Fame Grand Master. Only three other players in 1-wall history, Vic Hershkowitz, Arty Reyer, and Al Torres, could boast the durability with which Mike was blessed and the achievements he established: 4 championships, 5 runner-up finishes, 12 semi-final finishes – all in open play – and 11 national masters titles, not to mention how many times he was a national masters runner-up. Mike’s ability easily elevated him to membership in the New York Handball Hall of Fame.
Sadly, on October 7, 2018, Mike Dikman passed peacefully in his sleep from natural causes only two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday. My initial reaction to Mike’s passing focused on how much I respected him as both a player and as a man. It is a reaction universally echoed by the 1-wall community who played both with and against him, only some of which follows:
Ken Davidoff: “I have known and respected Mike as a handball player, but more than that, as a man, for over 60 years.”
Howie Eisenberg: “He was a formidable player, a very tough competitor, and, more importantly, a good guy.”
Mark Levine: “Mike was a true champion and a fine person.”
Graham Palmore: “Mike was a good man, a great handball player, fierce competitor, and wonderful partner.”
John Reicher: He was a great partner to play with.
Al Torres: “He was a monster on the court with an opposite right like a paddle.”
Dennis Uffer: “Mike was a great player, one of the legends.”
Joel Wisotsky: “Mike was an aggressive lefty, who always gave me a tough time on the court.”
Those who remember Mike best played top level 1-wall in the open division or masters division – or both. And that is, of course, where Mike always competed – in both open and masters – top level.
Within the last decade Mike gave back to handball by serving on two National Hall of Fame One-Wall Subcommittees. He was also an instrumental part of the New York Handball Hall of Fame Committee, which created the virtual New York Handball Hall of Fame. After nearly four years of research and discussion the NYHHOF went “live” in 2017.
Mike Dikman’s accomplishments reached far beyond the handball courts. He was an esteemed matrimonial attorney, every bit as strong at his profession as he was on the field of handball, always giving his best with honesty and integrity. Despite suffering from heart related health issues, Mike practiced law right up until his final moment. Moreover he delivered an annual scholarly lecture to assist other attorneys. In 1978 he assumed the presidency of the Queens County Bar Association, then served for 16 years on its Board of Managers. He remained Chairman of its Family Law Committee for 38 years – the rest of his life. He was also active in the New York State Bar Association Family Law Section and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, serving on its Board of Directors for many years.
In addition to handball Mike also had a passion for magic, a hobby which he began developing as a youth. An accomplished magician, he performed for both children and adults. His final performance came in front of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the very evening prior to his passing.
Mike Dikman has left an impressive legacy in handball and in his profession. He also leaves behind a devoted wife, Harriet, of 31 years, two children from his first marriage, David Dikman and Donna Dubinsky; Harriet’s children, Dara Foster-Storch, Shari Snowiss, and Suzanne Eisgrau. There are also 13 grandchildren: Peri, Matthew, Alexander, Jason, Julie, Brian, Joshua, Chloe, Emma, Benjamin, Jacob, Melissa, and Steve. Harriet had a single word to describe Mike as a grandfather: “Wonderful!”
Mike Dikman will be sorely missed by his family who loved him, by his colleagues who revered him, and by his handball opponents and partners who respected his abilities and his character.
Charles Mazzone, Cordova, Tenn.
In 2018, the handball collegiate world lost one of the all-time great coaches. Charles Joseph Mazzone, Coach of the University of Memphis Handball teams from 1977 – 1993, passed on September 7th, 2018 from a long battle with cancer. Coach Mazzone will be remembered and missed by the countless people that were so fortunate to have encountered Charlie throughout his life. Many of those surrounding the life of Coach Mazzone were the greater handball fraternity, whom were so fortunate to have been coached, mentored, scolded and loved be him. After serving in the Air Force in Germany, Charlie returned to his hometown of Memphis and attended and graduated from the University of Memphis.
For the following 40 years, Charlie taught and coached the University’s handball team, resulting in 8 consecutive National Collegiate Championships. Charlie later received the Silver “M” award from the University of Memphis “M” club, and was a member of the Memphis Amateur Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Mazzone was the nicest guy you could ever meet. Many past collegiate coaches feared him, envied him and foremost respected Charlie. He was a humble and gentle man, but not a push-over, according to any past team members that may have been coached by him. Charlie could accept failure, but would not accept not trying. As a former team member, if you ever felt that Charlie was not aware of what his team was up to, you were grossly wrong. Charlie allowed you space to make mistakes, yet grow and learn from them while still coaching along the way. Charlie was in no way an enabler, focusing on tough love, but ultimately Charlie was compassionate and giving.
Charlie was also an accomplished athlete in his own right, lettering in High school in football, baseball and basketball, and also playing on the championship football and baseball teams at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany. A scholarship fund has been created in Coach Mazzone’s name to support Collegiate Handball players. If you would like to donate and support the next generation of collegiate players, as Charlie so selfishlessly did, please reach out to the USHA for more information. Charlie Mazzone is survived by his wife of 51 years, Sally Smith Mazzone; a son, Mark Mazzone (Heather); a daughter, Holly Mazzone Grace (Mason); and three grandchildren. Your legacy will live on with all of us whom have been inspired by you.
Curt Heiting – On behalf of all past University of Memphis Handball Players.
Robert J. Decker, Houston, Texas
Robert James Decker was born in the Bronx, New York on October 28, 1932 to George Washington Decker and Margaret Tietze. His only brother, Donald Decker, predeceased him after living for many years as a quadriplegic. (Donny sustained the injuries during an army training exercise at Fort Dix in New Jersey; yet he remained a prolific artist who painted with a brush in his mouth.)
As an Army Ranger, Bob was a First Lieutenant and trained troops in Germany during the Korean Conflict and later participated in Atom Bomb testing in New Mexico where he was part of the Army Military Police.
Bob’s lifetime love of handball started when he was playing one wall as a boy in the Bronx at DeWitt Clinton High School. After graduating from City College of New York and Columbia Law School (Class of 1960) where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, he started working as an attorney for Royal Dutch Shell in their Rockefeller Center offices in Manhattan.
In 1966, he was promoted to Midwestern Regional Attorney and transferred to Chicago. For ten years, while living in Mount Prospect, Illinois, he and neighbor and friend Jay Bulaw, played singles every Tuesday afternoon. Jay said that at the end of each game, the loser would have to buy the winner a soda and pour it on ice and serve it to the looser. Bob’s daughter Julie wonders what else was poured with the soda. Bulaw and Decker also won the 14th Annual Northwest Suburban YMCA Doubles Tournament in 1974.
When playing once a week against Bulaw was not enough handball, Decker found his regular early 70’s doubles partner Bob Peters. They played at the Northwest Suburban YMCA (now the Lattof Y). Bob Peters recalls winning the Masters Doubles 25th and 26th Annual TallCorn Invitational in Des Moines, Iowa in May 1974 and 1975; and the Janesville Open in Janesville, Wisconsin. In the early 80s, they were still playing together. At the Four-Wall Championships in Houston, in the Masters Division, Bob Peters remembers Bob loosing sorely to Sol Barth and his partner. Now how did that happen? Off the court, Bob and Elaine Peters socialized with Bob and second wife Maellen.
In 1975, the Deckers had moved to Houston and Bob started playing at the YMCA on 1500 Louisiana Street. On Saturdays and during tournaments, Bob was accompanied by his daughters: Julie and Gretchen. Other ball players would say during a tournament: “I don’t mind playing one Decker, but I am not going to play three.” The girls were always vociferously cheering him on. Chuck Reeve and Bob won first place in the EEY Houston in October 1977. In 1981, Bob and Rob Jacobs were the Turkey Tournament Champions.
Other tournaments Bob played in include: 44th National Handball Tournament in April 1970; 53rd AAU Four Wall Handball Championships in Houston in October of 1972; Alamo Open in San Antonio in June of 1977; Alamo Open in San Antonio in June of 1977; The 26th The 36th Annual USH National 4-Wall Championship in Houston in June of 1986; 45th Annual USHA National Championships Four-Wall Handball in Houston in June 1995; and the Diez y Seis Invitational Handball Tournament in San Antonio.
At the age of 79, Bob ruptured both his Achilles’ tendons and could no longer play ball. It was hard for Bob to watch a game he dearly loved to play; but Vern Roberts remembers seeing him periodically over the last ten years. Julie remembers Vern well from the 1500 Louisiana YMCA of her childhood and was smiling when he picked up the phone at US Handball Association today. Vern remember Bob taking Julie to get stitches at the hospital around the corner during a match and coming back to beat Vern. Decker said: “Only adrenaline like today would ever allow an older player like me to beat THE Vern Roberts.”
“Handball was home for our dad”, says Julie. Decker and his daughter Julie were back at the new YMCA for John Coolidge’s Court Dedication in March of this year but Bob did not make the Ron Emberg tournament this year. Julie and Gretchen fondly remember names like: Mike Barnett, Sol Barth, Steve Bell, Don Binnicher, Hart Brupbacher, Jay Bulaw, John Coolidge, John Cooper, John Egbert, Gus Eifler, Ron Emberg, Bill Ferrary, Sandy Gaitz,, Charlie Gallup (“Tuna”), Jerry Garcia, Barney Gershen, Reid Gettys, Bill Hearon (best man at his second wedding to the girl’s mother), Robert Hyatt, Rob Jacobs, John Keasling, Chuck Koziol, Jim LeBoeuf, Terry McManus, Sandy Melamed, Rob Morgan, Bob Peters, Judge Frank Price, Ed Rainey, Chuck Reeve, Jerry Sampson, Don Speers, John Stein, Stu Stuwart (his lawyer from his third wife), Bob Webster and John Wolda.
Bob practiced law with Shell Oil for over thirty years, or if you asked him he would tell you that Bob played handball while Shell paid him to practice law in his spare time.
He is survived by his two daughters: Gretchen Decker, who lives and works in Austin, and Julia Decker Burke. Julia followed in his footsteps and practices corporate law in Houston. She is married to otolaryngologist Luke Burke, M.D. and they have two boys Jack Devlin Burke (age 17 and a high school senior 6’1”) and Donovan Patrick Burke (age 14 and a high school freshman 6’3”). They lived around the corner from Bob in Houston. The grandsons consumed all his time and he almost forgave them for not picking up handball, but never gave up hope. After passing, the grandsons commented to each other that they will never have to wash t-shirts again…as long as they are willing to wear one of “Poppy’s handball shirts”. There are hundreds.
Bob Decker fell asleep in his favorite chair after the finishing Sunday New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He died at the age of 85 in his home in Houston, Texas.
The Houston handball gang all showed up for his service: Sandy Gaitz, Barney Gershen, Charlie Girkin, Robert Hyatt, Chuck Koziol, Jim LeBoeuf, Chuck and Marlene Reeve, and Stu Stewart.
To those who knew Bob well, they will remember him saying: “Life is all right as long as 2 of these 3 things are going well- work, family and handball.”
Julie and Gretchen have asked that all donations be made to USHA Unrestricted “Discretionary Fund”. Donations can be made HERE.
Dennis Wickes, Salem, Va.
Dennis Wickes, 78, passed away on Aug. 11 after a long battle with cancer. As a long-time member of the YMCA, he was an avid handball player who loved the game and played on a regular basis. Dennis also served as the Southwest Virginia USHA Commissioner and was instrumental in organizing many of the tournaments in the area, including the State Commonwealth Games.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Joseph and Regina Wickes. He was a graduate of Roanoke Catholic High School and Columbia Technical Institute in Washington, D.C. He proudly served for six years in the U.S. Army. Dennis was an avid handball player and coordinator of many handball tournaments over the years which included The Commonwealth Games. Forty years of his working career was spent at Sunnyside Awning Company. He spent much time researching the forefathers of this great country and the Civil War, always marveling at the cost, wisdom and bravery that it took to found and form our nation.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 43 years, Brenda R. Wickes; daughters, Tonya Conner (Todd) and Talia Jennelle (Mason); grandchildren, Peyton Conner, Hannah-Kate Conner and Keller Barton; sister, Sharon Glenn (Jimmy); brother, Joseph Wickes (Joan); nephews, Douglas Glenn (Tiffany) and David Glenn (Tereza); and nieces, Janice Frankford (Mark) and Jennifer Osman (Peter).
Wickes also reported on the events for the local newspapers and Handball Magazine. As his health was failing, Dennis still enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow players by attending tournaments and reminiscing about the good old days. He will be missed by his many Virginia handball buddies.
-Bill Morris, Roanoke, VA
Bobby Harbatkin, Weston, Fla.
One of the many benefits of a lifetime of playing handball is the friends you make along the way.
I first met Bobby at the Bronx Union YMCA when I was fifteen years old. Our coach and mentor, the late Bob Davidson, held handball sessions on Saturday afternoon for promising young players. Later in the same year, Bobby joined the Castle Hill Beach Club and became a part of a stable of great young players that included Kenny “Meatball” Smolack, Lou “The Tiger” Russo, Philip “Flip” Wolfarth, Steve Lott, Wes and Willie Yee,Kenny Ginty, Richie Greenwald, Mitchel and Gary Strauss, Alan Findel, and Mike Meltzer among others.
Bobby soon became our so called leader as he was the oldest and most experienced in the game of life. He was co-owner of a family business that sold baked goods to restaurants in New York. Some of the aforementioned players were employed by Bobby as delivery men. Throughout his life, Bobby exhibited his wonderful generosity by helping those that were close to him. He was always willing to provide baked goods in order to enhance hospitality at handball events.
Bobby’s handball career was interrupted in the mid 1960’s by a tour of duty in Vietnam. His job was to install telephone lines. I received long letters from him during his deployment with details of his work and exploits.
After his discharge, Bobby resumed his handball career. During the winter he played ball at the West Side YMCA and the 92nd St. YMHA. He teamed with Richie Greenwald and they became one of the top doubles teams on the east coast. The summer was reserved for Castle Hill. The culminating event of the summer was the 3-Wall Nationals which were held at Detroit’s Palmer Park over Labor Day Weekend. Bobby was the leader of the troupe that traveled from New York to Detroit to compete in the tournament. I know I speak for all of us who played in the tournament that this was one of the most enjoyable times of our life.
As we continue along in our journey Bobby will be sorely missed. However the wonderful memories we have of him are everlasting.
Bobby Harbatkin passed away on August 27 from Parkinson's. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War. Bobby was one of the first Lifetime members of the USHA and an avid supporter of local Metro New York and New Jersey Tournaments. He is survived by his wife Susan, his two daughters Samantha & Megan and son Dylan.
-Kenny Smolack, Manalapan, NJ
Robert E. Sparrow, Hollis Hills, N.Y.
Robert E. Sparrow of Hollis Hills, NY passed away on June 9, 2018 at age 83. Beloved husband to Marcia for 61 years. Devoted father to Laurie and David, father-in-law to James and Darcy. Loving brother to Joyce. Cherished Grandpa to Dallas, Cody, Matthew, and Isabella.
He was a top-ranked player, starting in his teens on all outdoor courts in Brooklyn, especially Coney Island. While at Columbia College and University earning his BA & JD, he excelled on all the indoor courts, winning many tournaments and trophies. His longtime handball doubles partner was Michael Dikman. Bob played with many of the old time greats—the Oberts, Vic Hershkowitz, Jimmy Jacobs, Steve Sandler and Artie Reyer.
He excelled in every racquet sport-squash, racquetball, paddleball, and tennis. He was a founding member of the New York Handball Hall of Fame.
He piloted a small private plane for many years, taking our young family on many adventures. He was also a certified scuba diver, a world traveler (including Antarctica, Iceland, China, India, Australia, Ecuador and the Galapagos, to name just a few of the places he visited), and a poet (especially in rhyme-a new one legally themed published regularly in the Queens County Bar Association Bulletin). Any inspiration evoked a poem. An outstanding criminal defense lawyer covering courts in the metropolitan area for 53 years; he was a true hero—donating a kidney to his daughter 28 years ago, which provided him with 2 beautiful grandsons, now both college grads.
A gentleman to be very proud of and a man for all seasons. Bob was a U.S. Army Veteran and Four Armed Service members were present to perform a special flag ceremony at his funeral.
-Marcia Sparrow (widow)
Joe Cassidy, Jersey City, N.J.
Veteran New Jersey handball champion Joe Cassidy, 76, passed away at his Jersey City home May 14.
Cassidy learned to play handball during the 1960s as a member of the Jersey City YMCA team which competed in the North Jersey Handball League. He also played outdoor handball on the three-wall courts in Bayonne, NJ, and on the modified one-wall courts in Lincoln Park in Jersey City.
During this time, Joe's handball game was improving as he moved up the ranks of the Jersey City Police Department. He really took to three-wall and wound up winning National Three-Wall singles titles in Golden Masters Singles in 1992 and 1996. He also won singles titles at the East Regional Three-Wall championship tournaments held in Baltimore.
In four-wall, he won the 2004 Super Masters doubles championship at the New York Athletic Club.
On the job, Cassidy rose to the rank of deputy chief, as he became the top-ranked officer in the Jersey City PD Detective Bureau. After he retired, he was elected Hudson County Sheriff. It was as a county sheriff, that Cassidy made his greatest contribution to handball. He persuaded the county to tear down the modified one-wall courts in Lincoln Park, and replace them with four often used three-wall courts.
He leaves his wife, Marion, and a daughter, Trish, who is East District Commander as a captain for the Jersey City PD.
Arrangements were by the Greenville Memorial Home of Jersey City with a viewing May 17 and 18 4-7 p.m. and a funeral Mass May 19 out of St. Patrick's Church of Jersey City.
Michael Schneider Sr., Richmond Hill, N.Y.
Michael Schneider Sr. passed away peacefully in his sleep after a brave battle with cancer on April 3, 2018. Adored and loving husband of Chris, loving and proud father of Amy and Michael. Doting grandfather of Harper and Georgia. He is survived by his sisters: Ellen and Mary; and brother Jim. Also many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Author of "They Call You Doc", a memoir of his childhood and experience as a medic during the Vietnam War.
A retired NYC School Custodian, he was a friend to many with his wit and sense of humor. An avid athlete, his latest passion was playing handball in NYC parks and on indoor courts at the Y. He will be sorely missed by his family and all his friends.
"I was unfortunate to lose my father earlier this year. While this was a difficult lesson, I found I was overwhelmed by gratefulness that I was lucky enough to be around such a wonderful person more than I was by any sorrow. The memories we share on this planet are the most beautiful thing we can find happiness in, and for us handball was a huge part of that. We started handball at the same time, and were fortunate enough to be able to travel, compete, and get to know a ton of great people. Some of you are absolute cartoon characters, but I love each and every one of you. It was beautiful to see how quickly you accepted my father into the handball community, and the outpouring of kindness in the aftermath of his passing has touched my heart. Thank you for the good times, thank you for the memories, and thank you for playing handball with us."
- Michael Schneider Jr.
John Barry McGrath, Carlsbad, Calif.
Barry, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, September 6, 1937. He attended St John’s High School in Worcester, and accepted a full basketball scholarship to Boston College. His freshmen year his team was 18-1. Barry’s Senior Basketball Season (1958-59), Boston College earned their first invitation to the NCAA Div. 1, Basketball Tournament. In 1998 Barry was inducted into Boston College Hall Fame. The ceremony was held during the halftime of the Boston College football game against Syracuse.
Barry had quite a teaching career at University High (now Cathedral) teaching English Literature. Barry also coached the University High tennis team to a CIF State Championship. He retired from teaching in the juvenile court system. His students in the court system really needed an understanding teacher and friend, and that was Barry.
Barry was s skilled handball player who competed in many tournaments in his career as a singles and doubles player. And he was a good friend of all handball players.
Barry, loved being close to the ocean and the sun. He built his house overlooking the surf in Carlsbad as close to the ocean as possible and enjoyed body surfing. The problem, Barry was very sensitive to the sun and he had many visits to the dermatologist over the years. Early this year, recovering from a fall he notes a dark spot on his ankle that appeared to enlarge very quickly and was diagnosis as Merkle Cell Carcinoma. This is a very aggressive cancer and took our friend very quick. Barry passed away 2:07 A.M. on April 29.
This is a very brief out line of Barry’s life, and we hope to share many more stories from those who knew him. All you guys that knew him know he was even more than this.
Funeral Mass for John Barry McGrath will be held Friday, May 18, 4:00 p.m. at the Immaculate Conception Church (Old Town), 2540 San Diego Ave., San Diego, CA.
Jack Austin, Menlo Park, Calif. (July 30, 1921 - April 20, 2018)
Jack D. Austin died of natural causes on April 20, 2018, at Silver Point Plaza Menlo Park, California. Jack was predeceased in 2014 by Kit, his wife and soul mate of 67 years; he is survived by his sons Frank (Peg) Austin and John (Gloria) Austin; his grandchildren Betsy (Steve) McBride, Amy Austin, and Greg Austin; and his great grandchildren Ashlyn and Austin McBride and Juniper Austin.
Jack had a memorable handball career that spanned six decades, and was inducted into the Northern California Handball Hall of Fame in November 4, 1995. He observed that “The secrets for playing handball well are imilar to qualities needed in boxing---determination, physical endurance and playing a lot. Moreover, ambidexterity is extremely important. Speed, agility and experience are key also."
However, it was off the court, where the real measure of Jack Austin could be taken. He was a man of great honor and integrity, the epitome of a true sportsman and friend --- and a class act, win or lose. Throughout Jack's life, for his simple goodness and generosity of spirit, he was loved and held in warm and extremely high regard by friends and family.
Jacks active participation, personal interest and support made great contributions to Sacramento Handball, as a founding member of the Sacramento Area Handball Association, as well as a charter member of the USHA. His significant "Nationals" accomplishments were realized while he was a member of our Northern California Handball community -- as a resident of Fair Oaks/Sacramento for over a decade.
Jack participated in hundreds of local tournaments at various levels -- winning more than his share. In due course, he prevailed in both the singles and doubles tournaments for players "60 to 70+" in both "National" and "World" tournaments Jack's handball accomplishments included being the school champion for Franklin High School in Highland Park (1938), champion of the University of California, LA, (1940) -- where he played with former LA Rams coach Bob Waterfield. Jack entered his first tournament at North Hollywood High, where a "peeled tennis ball" served as the handball, and the court consisted of one wall and three lines drawn in the dirt. He observed he sobbed when he lost.
The following is a summary of his numerous Handball accomplishments:
1992 Four-Wall Nationals: 70 Singles Champion, 70 Doubles (semifinalist)
1991 Four-Wall Nationals: 70 Singles Runner-up, 70 Doubles Runner-up
1991 World Championships: 70 Singles Champion, 70 Doubles Champion
1988 Four-Wall Nationals: 65 Singles (semifinalist)
1987 Four-Wall Nationals: 65 Singles Champion
1986 Four-Wall Nationals: 65 Singles (semifinalist)
1983 Jack Tone (Modesto, CA) 60 Singles Champion
1965 Southern California Regionals Contenders Champion
Alfonso Vega, Ogden Dunes, IN
Alfonso Vega "Mr. Vega" "Coach Vega", 86, of Ogden Dunes, Indiana, passed away on April 8, 2018. He is survived by his loving wife Cindy and beloved pets Humphrey and Luigi, many brothers and sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother Irene Bargas and stepfather Luis Bargas.
Al was born on December 26, 1931 in El Paso, Texas. He grew up in the South Derring area of Chicago. He attended Chicago Vocational High School where he became an accomplished wrestler. He is in the CVS Hall of Fame. He was recruited by Purdue University for his exceptional wrestling ability and became a Purdue All-American and Big 10 Champion. He earned a Master's Degree in Education from Purdue University and an Administrator's License from Loyola University.
Al proudly spent a total of 54 years in education. He was a biology teacher, wrestling and cross country coach, and administrator at Thornton Fractional North High School for more than 20 years before becoming Superintendent of School District 215. After retiring from School District 215, he became Superintendent of Burnham Elementary School. He was a teacher, coach, and mentor to many. Al enjoyed getting to know people and spending time with friends. He was an avid handball player, fisherman, and gardener. He enjoyed golfing and playing cards or shooting pool with friends. He lived with a positive attitude, fine sense of humor, and caring spirit. He was always generous and giving of his time, talent, and wisdom to help improve the lives of others. He will be dearly remembered and truly missed by all whose hearts and lives he touched.
Online condolences to the family may be made at www.ee-fh.com
Benjamin James Agajanian, Cathedral City, CA
Ben Agajanian, passed away on Thursday, February 8, 2018, at the age of 98. He is survived by his son, Lewis (Mindy) Agajanian and daughters, Lynne (Bruce) McVay and Lori (Bobby) Hinkle. A Celebration of Life Ceremony will be held for family and friends on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607
Ben was known in the national football community as “booten Ben, the toeless wonder” and the local football community as “oldest living Ram”. To the handball community he was known as the developer and first owner of the legendary Long Beach Athletic Club.
From the Long Beach Independent in 1972:
“Aggie will open his brand new Long Beach Athletic Club at 4000 Long Beach Blvd. July 1 and he, like many others, feels this project will fulfill a long-needed Long Beach requirement -- a first-class athletic club and one aimed primarily for handball and the national tournaments which such a club can attract. Since the Pacific Coast Club fell by the wayside, there has been a desperate need for an athletic club in the Long Beach area. The YMCA does a great job, but like the public schools, it needs the parochial schools -- in this case, the private club -- to handle the overload. "I've put all my cards on the table," said the prominent Armenian gin rummy player. "When the Pacific Coast Club expired, here was a gap. And Long Beach is too big of a city to be without an athletic club. "I've always been an exercise fanatic. I feel this new club will fill the need for both men and women interested in exercising." HANDBALL IS THE THEME of the Long Beach Athletic Club, but that doesn't preclude other activities there. "We'll have everything else the all-around athletic club has -- weights, exercise machines, table tennis, volleyball and tables for the tired, old gin rummy players," remarked Agajanian. The old placekicker has his head screwed on correctly. Without the old, tired gin rummy players no athletic club would ever succeed. AGAJANIAN IS GOING major league immediately. "Next week I'm sending the Long Beach Athletic Club handball team to the nationals in Seattle," said the legendary one. "I've already got the uniforms. They're powder blue, red and white. It's an all-American production. "Our club commissioner is Ed Kelly, who is the Southern California AAU handball commissioner. Kelly will get us national tournaments here in Long Beach. Val Moore and Earl Russell will represent Long Beach Athletic Club in the Masters' division in Seattle, and I'll be in the Golden Masters' division. Skip McDowell and Matt Kelly will be our Long Beach doubles' team...”
Ben was inducted into the SCHA Hall of Fame in 1997.
Raymond O. Anderson, Wilmington, NC
Raymond O. Anderson, age 76 of Wilmington, NC, completed his circle life on January 1, 2018.
He was born in Birmingham, Alabama on September 25, 1941 to the late Charles Dodd Anderson and Doris Davis Anderson. He was a self-made man in his dealings in Real Estate investing.
His passion for the game of handball led him around the United States playing tournaments leading to long lasting friendships with many wonderful people around the US. He was actively involved for well over 30 years with the Shrimparoo Handball Tournament in Wilmington, NC. He took great pride in hosting a cookout in his backyard on Saturday night of the tournament.
He also shared his love for the outdoors with his sons and many, many others hunting, fishing, and boating.
He was preceded in passing by his brothers; Charles Anderson Jr. and Glenn, as well as his son Wade Anderson.
He is survived by his special friend Barbara Hall, his son Brett Anderson, and his daughter Diana Dee Barnish and grandchildren all of whom will miss his presence.
A Memorial Service will be held at Coble Ward-Smith on Oleander Dr., Wilmington, NC. Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 12pm. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers please donate to your charity of choice as to help others in this circle of life.
Read the Ray Anderson Tribute by Mike Rusinak [HERE].
Edward Allen Mendell, Los Altos, CA
Ed Mendell (November 23, 1933 – January 3, 2018) passed away peacefully of natural causes, as a result of dementia, on the morning of January 3, 2018 with his family by his side. Ed touched many lives as a teacher, businessman, and athlete. He was an adventurer, visiting far off places such as the Galapagos Islands, Madagascar, Antarctica, and the Amazon.
Ed was born at Fort Lewis, Washington, the son of a military family that traveled from base to base. As a teenager, he left home and completed high school in Miami, Florida. When asked, “Why Miami?” he always responded, “After I walked out the front door, it was cold, so I headed south.”
After graduating from Miami High School, Ed applied to the US Military Academy, West Point. He also applied to Harvard University. He was accepted to West Point and had no hesitation in making that his choice. Growing up in a military family, he looked up to those who served, especially those who attended West Point. However, shortly after beginning his studies there, he was reprimanded, not by West Point, but by Harvard for skipping his orientation. Apparently, he was so excited about his acceptance to West Point that he forgot about Harvard, who also accepted him as a student. However, Ed made the right choice and was very successful at West Point. As a cadet he excelled in both the ranger program and the paratroopers. He also played on the football team, threw the javelin, and was a heavyweight boxer on the boxing team. He graduated from West Point in 1955 and received his diploma from President Eisenhower.
Ed spent two years in the army before pursuing his dream of being a school teacher. He relocated from New York to California and continued to box, turning pro to earn some extra money. His professional boxing career was short, but he didn’t lose a fight and had one memorable bout against the number one heavyweight contender at the time, Eddie Machen. Ed was asked to box a three-round exhibition against Machen in San Francisco, and after losing two close rounds, Ed stunned Machen in the third, resulting in gasps from the crowd who came out to see the top contender in action. At least one ringside promoter scored the fight a draw.
Eventually, Ed found a position as a teacher at Ravenswood High School in East Palo Alto. He spent several years at Ravenswood, then at Woodside High, before finishing his career at Ravenswood. Ever the businessman, Ed opened coin operated laundry mats in the early 60s before moving on to rental properties. In 1968 he took a sabbatical from teaching and received a doctorate in education from Stanford. In the mid 1970s he was instrumental in the growth of the Supreme Court Racquetball Clubs, having a part in the growth and expansion of the clubs in San Carlos, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Hayward, and Alameda.
No longer interested in boxing, Ed took up handball and joined the Palo Alto Elks Club. There, he met many of his longtime friends. And years later, he was instrumental in keeping the club alive when it ran into financial trouble. He was elected as the Exalted Ruler of the Elks, a very proud moment in his life.
Ed also volunteered as a little league coach, coaching one son while being assisted by the other. He then coached soccer, coaching his daughter while being assisted by one of his sons. Ed loved sports and was always quite the athlete. He competed in handball tournaments with his oldest son, winning four titles including one at the age of 80. He also enjoyed fishing trips to Alaska, and in recent years, he combined his love of fishing with his love of the military by donating all of his catch to the veteran’s hospital in Palo Alto. On a very special night, the veterans were treated to fresh Alaskan Salmon and Halibut, prepared by a local chef.
At 6’ 3” with a very muscular build, Ed could be an intimidating figure, especially for those who knew about his boxing background. However, he had a soft spot for children and animals and often found humor when it was least expected. He liked to dress up as Santa if it made kids happy, and he would wear extra loud Hawaiian shirts if he thought it would get a laugh or two. He would break out his old guitar and sing a tune if the crowd was right, and he loved to share stories originally told by his dad.
Ed is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy; his sons, Glenn and Dale; daughter, Diana; and grandchildren, Yvette, Shelby, and Alexandra. He is preceded in death by his parents, Col. Martin Mendell and mother Lela, his brother James and his sister Patricia.
Richard "Dick" Roberson, Austin, TX
Richard "Dick" Roberson passed away peacefully at home on Friday, January 5, 2018, after living a very full and wonderfully blessed life. He was born on Friday, the 13th of February, 1931, to Spurgeon and Kytha Roberson, who preceded him in death. His son, Russell "Rusty", and his sister, Wanda Ware, also preceded him in death along with many dear relatives and lifelong friends. What a reunion he must have had upon his arrival! Richard's family moved from Houston to Austin in 1941, where he attended Fulmore Junior High, Stephen F Austin High and the University of Texas graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Banking and Finance. He attended First Baptist Church, Tarrytown Baptist Church, Highland Park Baptist Church, Covenant Presbyterian Church, and most recently, Austin Christian Fellowship. He served in many capacities from Elder, Deacon and Committees faithfully.
Richard's love of baseball and his gift of athleticism allowed him to play from high school, college, Austin Buddies, Austin Pioneers and many more Semi-Pro teams all the way to the major league for the Atlanta Krackers (now known as Braves). His baseball career was full of National Championships and relationships he always held very dear. Richard was also an avid handball player and as the Handball Coach for five years at the University of Texas, he coached several teams to become National Champions. He was also able to bring his dream of the Glass Court to fruition at Gregory Gym often referred to as the "House that Robby Built". In 1960 Richard joined the Trust Department of the Capital National Bank. In 1965 Richard became a stockbroker and was one of Austin's Top Brokers for many, many years. Retiring in 2002 after 37 years, he continued to help people whenever asked. Richard is survived by his loving wife and best friend of more than 32 years, Teresa Connally Roberson, sons, Rick (Carol), Randy (Debbie) and Brian; daughter, Dee Bow (Bob), granddaughters, Stephanie Smith (Brian) and Melissa Manifold (Mark), grandson, Clayton King (fiancé Madelaine), great grandchildren, Carolynn and Landon Smith, and nephew, Bill Worrell.
In lieu of flowers, family and friends who wish to honor Richard's life may do so by making a contribution to Muscular Dystrophy Association, Hospice of East Texas or their preferred charity.
Buzz Farm, Venice, FL
Buzz Farm, late of Syracuse, Indiana and Venice, Florida passed away peacefully at home with his family by his side on December 22, 2017 at age 83. Buzz epitomized what all handball players should be about. He flat-out loved the game and it was a major part of his life. He was what handball tournaments should be about - the average player who loved to participate regardless of the outcome. He played with passion. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him, especially the members of the Sarasota Handball Club. Our condolences to his family.
Dell Mora, Santa Barbara, CA
Dell Mora was born May 25, 1930 and passed away November 23, 2017. He was 87. He had many things wrong with his body, mainly his inability to produce red, white cells & platelets and was home in hospice care.
He grew up in Santa Barbara & was a an outstanding multi-sport athlete at Santa Barbara High School. In addition, he was an integral part of the backfield on the team that went to the 1949 CIF football championship.
For 40 years, Dell was involved in the heating/air conditioning business as a sheet metal worker. At a late age (40), he began playing 4-wall handball resulting in 15 national championships. He was also inducted into the Southern California Handball Association Hall of Fame and was a USHA Grand Master. Dell's national titles (singles and doubles) were from the span of 1980 to 1998.
A message of condolence from Randy Multack (Bellvue, WA):
I spent quite a bit of time visiting Dell and his wife Jean up in Santa Barbara over the past 5-6 years, and here are a few thoughts I have about Dell, who was a very good friend of mine, even though we were a generation apart in years.
Dell was a guy who had polio as a kid and wasn’t supposed to walk again. He not only walked, but he ran, and he became one of the best and most celebrated high school athletes to come out of Santa Barbara at his time. He set numerous track and field records that went unbroken for many years, in addition to being an All-Star in football and playing other varsity sports. He went on to a great career in handball, playing in the finals of 20 national singles and doubles tournaments and winning 15 of them, even though he didn’t start playing the game until he was in his later 30’s.
Dell Mora was a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the court. He was the life of most parties, and he did love to party. There were some legendary ones at his house in Santa Barbara after the Semana Nautica handball tournaments. No one loved a good time more than Dell.
Dell lived a very full life and lived it on his terms. He was as stubborn as they come and he was also one tough sonofabitch. But he also had a softer side which not many people ever got to see (especially those he played against) and he loved people. His best times were being with people and having a few drinks. Captain Morgan was a good friend of his.
Dell certainly left his mark on the world of those who knew him. I loved him and I’ll miss him, as will most who were part of his large circle of friends. Santa Barbara won’t be quite the same for me anymore.
Safe travels, Dell – I’ll miss you.
Henry ("Hank") Charles Schniepp, Albuquerque, NM
June 30, 1952 - November 21, 2017. Hank was the beloved husband of Susan Schniepp (nee Dawe) and a loving father to Martha and Anna. Hank was the grounding influence and touchstone of family love to his daughters and wife throughout his life. Hank was a loyal brother, a companion to his relatives, and a helpful friend.
Hank was born in Illinois and a graduate of the University of Illinois. His career was in the pharmaceutical industry which led him to working in different regions of the country ultimately leading him to choose Albuquerque, New Mexico as the place to retire. He invited people to visit because he was happy to be where snow was measured in scant inches not feet.
In Albuquerque he was an avid handball player and was able to enjoy golf year-round. His last job allowed him the chance to be home more often to soak up the New Mexico sun.
Hank’s passing was unexpected. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Louis Iannettoni, Jamesville, NY
Louis Iannettoni, 93, of Jamesville, passed away Saturday, November 4, at Upstate Hospital with his family by his side. He was born in Philadelphia and has been a resident of the Syracuse area most of his life. Louis was a graduate of Michigan Tech University which gave him the opportunity to own his own company, Meloon Foundries in Syracuse for 45 years.
Louis was an avid handball player and had been a lifetime member of the YMCA for over 50 years, where he made many lifelong friends. He was inducted into the Foundry Hall of Fame as a Charter Member and recently inducted into the North High School Hall of Fame. He was an accomplished violinist and especially enjoyed playing in church.
Louis was predeceased by his wife of 69 years, Mary Amellio Iannettoni and son, Michael J. Iannettoni. Survivors include his sons, L. James (Dolores) Iannettoni and Mark (Ann) Iannettoni, M.D.; beloved grandchildren, Andrea (James) Carlton, Christopher Iannettoni, Andrew (Alicia) Iannettoni and Timothy (Shannon) Iannettoni; sister, Lucy Amellio; several great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Contributions may be made to the Teen Challenge of CNY, 124 Furman St., Syracuse, NY 13205
Randy Wolfe, West Lawn, PA
Randy E. Wolfe, 56, of West Lawn, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, October 26, 2017. Born in Harrisburg, he was the son and stepson of John I. and Diane J. (Leibensperger) Wolfe, Perry Twp., and son of the late Nancy A. (Ketner) Wolfe.
Randy was a 1978 graduate of Schuylkill Valley High School and graduated from Shippensburg University. In his younger years, he attended Lutheran Church of the Lutheran Trinity, Leesport. Randy owned and operated Dry Masters Carpet Cleaning of Lehigh Vally.
He loved playing handball. Randy was a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates. He was a loving son and a friend to everyone. Randy will be sadly missed by many.
Surviving in addition to his parents are his siblings, Roger A. Wolfe, and his companion Darlene, N.Y., Ronda K. Wolfe, Muhlenberg Twp.; and two nephews, Chad and Clayton.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Northern Berks EMS, 26 E. Wall St., P.O. Box 625, Leesport, PA 19533, or Union Fire Co. No.1 of Leesport, 18 E. Wall Street, P.O. Box 777, Leesport, Pa 19533.
For online condolences, please visit, www.leibenspergerfuneralhomes.com.
A message of condolence from Joe Thomas (Reading, PA):
Randy was the official and unofficial chair of handball in the region, the go-to for finding games, running tournaments, and supporting the game at all levels and for all ages. He was an energetic ambassador for handball and the driving force for tournaments in Eastern PA, including running the USHA National Masters Doubles tournament in Allentown in 2010. Randy loved the game and played regularly, indoor and out. He began playing while attending Shippensburg University. He was an intelligent player with two good hands, and developed some creative shots to compensate for limited mobility from a bad leg. Randy had a great sense of humor and never a malicious word for or about anyone, though he was full of good-natured caustic chatter on the court for opponents or even partners. A favorite was after his own good shot saying to himself, but meaning to be heard, “Easy game, Randy, easy game.” He was much loved and appreciated and will be greatly missed.
Martin (Marty) Patrick Sammon, Jr., Santa Clara, CA
Marty passed away after a brief illness on Thursday, September 14. Marty was born in Steubenville, Ohio on May 30, 1934 to Martin and Catherine. His family moved to California and settled in Newark, CA where he graduated from Washington High School. He went on to Santa Clara University (SCU) where he graduated in 1956. He later earned his MBA from SCU in 1963.
He met the love of his life while attending a mixer at SCU. He married Rosemarie in May of 1957. Their honeymoon was a cross-country drive to Fort Campbell, Kentucky where he was a member of the 101st Airborne Division. He was part of the team that was called to Little Rock, Arkansas to protect the "Little Rock Nine". He maintained contact with Melba Beals, Minnijean Brown and Terence Brown for many years. After serving his country, he and Rosemarie came back to California. They settled in Santa Clara, where they raised their two daughters and son and where Rosemarie still resides. Marty became a stock broker and worked up until his recent retirement.
Marty's true passion was boxing. After retiring the gloves in college, he still had the itch to be in the ring, so what better option than to become a referee. He started by referring the inmates at San Quentin. He went on to referee and judge multiple amateur and professional bouts. Marty appeared as a boxing referee in an episode of "Midnight Caller", but perhaps his most famous on-screen role was as boxing referee #5 in the Academy Award winning picture "Million Dollar Baby". He also appeared in a Northern California Honda commercial. He continued to be a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
While the role of a boxing referee was one of many highlights in his life, his most cherished role was that of grandfather. He went to as many activities as he possibly could, whether it be soccer games, birthday parties or just spending time every Thursday with Emily. Marty leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Rosemarie, his daughters Sharon and Lisa, sons-in-law, Rick and Eric and his three grand-daughters: Stephanie, Katherine (Katie) and Emily, two sisters (Cathy and Lyn) and many nieces and nephews. Marty has joined his brother Roddy and his son Michael in heaven. May he now rest in peace.
The family would like to thank the amazing care team at the Palo Alto VA Hospital. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to your local VA Hospital.
Bob Sanchez, Albuquerque, N.M.
Bob Sanchez was born on December 23, 1929 to Manuel and Felicitas Sanchez and was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He passed away too soon on September 22, 2017. Bob graduated from Albuquerque High School, University of New Mexico for his undergraduate degree, and dental school at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Bob served in three branches of the military. He first served in the Naval Reserves while attending UNM, he went for officer's training in the PLC Program (Platoon Leader Class) of the Marine Core while attending Northwestern. After dental school he became part of the Army Dental Core.
Bob met Eleanor "Ellie" Fleming in Chicago while he was attending Northwestern and she was working in Chicago. After his graduation, they married and immediately left for his tour of duty in Germany. They returned to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1960 and opened his dental practice. Bob and Ellie had five children: Dr. Robert Sanchez and wife, Lianne; Linda Sanchez; Dr. Gary Sanchez and wife, Julie; Dr. Greg Sanchez and wife, Kate; Dr. Leslie Sanchez-Goettler and husband Drew. Their grandchildren are Jasmine, Reed, Bella, Jacqueline, Ben, Will, Jordan and Sophia. Bob provided a wonderful life for his family. He was a supportive father who always encouraged his children to "get ahead and stay ahead" and "get a good education." His children were his number one priority and he loved spending time with them. He took them and their friends on many adventures to Elephant Butte Lake, snow skiing, and other fun trips throughout the years.
Besides his family, Bob's lifelong passion was sports: handball, The UNM Lobos and the Dallas Cowboys. He built Tom Young's Athletic Club in the 70's to share his passion with Albuquerque. After returning, Bob and Ellie got to do some well-earned traveling. They had friends all over the world. Later in Life, Bob took great care of Ellie as her health declined. He took her to the VA hospital three times a week so she could play the piano and he would entertain the veterans. He loved to meet new people and share his life with others. Bob always had a joke or story to tell. He was a kind and generous man.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the American Cancer Society or Alzheimer's Association.
7601 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Claude Hunter, Jr., Orlando, FL.
The handball community lost a great ambassador on July 23, 2017, when Claude Hunter, Jr., 82, went to be with the Lord.
Quite an athlete, Claude’s sports career started at Orlando High School as a runner, setting track records in the 100- and 200-meter dash. He was the captain of every sports team he played on, including basketball and football, where he was a running back. After graduation in 1952, he attended the University of Florida, joined Sigma Chi Fraternity, and became a life-long and die-hard Gators fan.
After moving back to Orlando, Claude opened his own business, Hunter Insurance Agency, which he ran until he retired. His many community activities included memberships in the South Orlando Kiwanis Club, Orlando Remembered, Regional History Center, Orlando Old Timers, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Miss Florida Pageant Board, Citizens Police Program, and the Downtown YMCA Board.
Even though he was a fierce competitor who loved the game of handball, Claude was always a gentleman on the court, known for his fairness and friendliness to everyone. He donated his own money and time to help raise scholarship money for disadvantaged kids whose parents couldn’t afford a YMCA membership. He often encouraged his fellow handball players to contribute, too.
For over 20 years Claude ran a handball tournament he founded at the Downtown Orlando YMCA. At the tournaments, later re-named in Claude’s honor, he worked harder than anyone to organize, promote, and see to it that things ran smoothly. One year as Claude and some of his buddies were outside grilling steaks (under a canopy in the rain) for the Saturday night dinner, they had the back door to the Y propped open, and smoke pouring in set off the fire alarm, followed by sirens, fire trucks, and firefighters. Never a dull moment at one of Claude’s handball tournaments! Even after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, Claude continued to play handball until he was 79.
A large group of handball players from all over the state of Florida attended Claude’s funeral, where, in his honor, they wore shirts from his tournaments and sat in a section reserved for them. The church was packed with friends and relatives.
A lifelong member of Downtown Baptist Church, Claude was loved by all who knew him, but especially by Gloria, his wife of 59 years. He is survived by daughter Kimberly Chris Hunter, son Michael Claude Hunter, two grandchildren, Amy and Michael Alliman, brother Fred Copelan (Ann) Hunter, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Claude will be sorely missed at the YMCA and around the handball courts.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Downtown Orlando YMCA Scholarship Fund and Downtown Orlando Baptist Church. Read the legacy.com obituary and sign the guestbook HERE.
Don Davis, Silvis, Illinois
Don Davis was born Jan. 16, 1935 in Muscatine, the son of William and Elva Davis. He married Nancy Peters in 1955. He graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., and received his Masters degree from the Univ. of Iowa. He taught social studies and coached football, baseball and basketball. Don was inducted into the United Township High School Hall of Fame in 2007.
Don Davis was an avid handball player and was devoted to the sport. I appreciate him teaching me how to play this wonderful game, and all the outstanding aspects the sport has to offer. Thank you, Dad!!!
Brian Clifford McCool, Huntington Beach, CA
McCool, Brian Clifford, born in Montreal, Canada, passed peacefully in Anaheim, CA on May 18, 2017. Brian moved to Huntington Beach California from Montreal 50 years ago to embark on a new life with his young family. Brian is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Sandra (nee Stevens), his children Daniel, Donna (Mark), Wendy, Colleen (Bill), and Joseph (Catherine). Brian was preceded in death by his brother, James McCool and is survived by his siblings Marlene Currie, Sharon, Patrick (Connie) and Kevin McCool (Kimm). Brian will be dearly missed by his nine grandchildren, Alexandra, Piper, Kiya, Gabriella, Sara, Catie, Ciaran, Keeley , and Emily. A memorial service and reception will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2017, at 1:00 p.m., at the Huntington Beach Senior Center at Central Park, 18041 Goldenwest Street, Huntington Beach, CA.
Edward Broderick Dullea, Burlingame, CA
Dec 28, 1944 – May 11, 2017. At rest after a brief illness, devoted husband of 36 years to his wife Nana, proud father of John, Jeff and Angela Dullea and cherished grandfather of Tyler and Jordan. Ed leaves behind his beloved brother and sister, Charles Dullea (Patti) and Mary Dullea, his nephew Sean (Karli) Mullane and nieces Kelly Mullane and Jennifer Dullea and great nephew Grant, mother in law Aida McCauley and brother in law Rick Rodriguez along with many other relatives and lifelong friends who will miss him dearly.
He will be reunited with his parents, the late Edward F. and Adele Broderick Dullea and his revered uncles Charles Dullea SJ and John Dullea SJ.
Ed was a proud native son of San Francisco and a graduate of St. Cecilia School, St. Ignatius and the University of San Francisco. After serving his country in the US Army, he followed in the footsteps of his legendary grandfather, SFPD Chief Charles W. Dullea and served with distinction in the SFPD for 31 years. Ed was a man of humor who truly enjoyed life and was most likely to be found on the handball court at the Olympic Club, South End Rowing Club and San Mateo Elks Club, riding his motorcycle, tinkering with a classic car or cheering on the SF Giants.
Friends and family may visit at 11am on Thursday May 18th followed by a Memorial Service at 12 noon all at Duggan's Serra Mortuary 500 Westlake Avenue, Daly City. In lieu of flowers, your donation may be made to Pancreatic Cancer Research at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, 475 Brannan Street, Suite 220, San Francisco, CA 94107 in his memory is appreciated.
Calvin Mittman, Fresh Meadows, N.Y.
For those who may not be aware, my father (Calvin) passed away unexpectedly, on Monday, while he was at work at St. John's University. The math professor, who when asked when he would retire, always responded that he would die doing what he loved -- and that is what he did (he started as professor at SJU in 1962). My Dad always had a smile and was the "Rock of Gibraltar" for our family (Geni Baker, Adam Mittman and Linda Mittman) and beyond. All are in disbelief that he could possibly be gone.
I did so much with my Dad and he greatly influenced my desire to be a professor. Probably the only thing he can't get credit for is handball. Despite him having won a national collegiate handball championship with RPI in the late 1950's, my interest in handball happened entirely in spite of his many efforts. He was the best Dad ever and he will be forever missed. (My sister made me put in forever!!!!). - Scott Mittman
Tom Cunningham, Boulder, Colo.
Tom Cunningham died at his home of natural causes on January 22. He was 68. Tom lived a rich and varied life, and leaves behind many close and lifelong friends. Tom was born in Oak Park, Illinois. As a result, he was an avid, but long-suffering Chicago sports fan. A visit with Tom would usually include the Cubs or Bears on a TV in the background. It wasn't the Bears winning the Super Bowl in 1986, or the Bulls winning six championships in the 1990's, it was when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016 that Tom felt Chicago sports had finally reached its potential! Tom graduated with a Bachelor's degree in History from the University of Arizona and went on to receive his Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois. He received a Fellowship and worked at Argonne National Laboratories before moving to Boulder in 1979. In Boulder, he worked with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and spent his later years as an avid investor and stock trader. Tom was a master handball competitor. He and various partners were Colorado doubles champions for many years, and he competed in numerous national tournaments. He was a great friend, and will be missed for his keen intelligence, sharp wit, and generous spirit.
I met Tom Cunningham at Pete Tyson's Handball Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado back in 1987. Tom and I began a good friendship there, one that went beyond just our love of the game of handball and our Chicago roots. Both Tom and I had left Chicago in our 20's, with him heading to the mountains of Boulder and me heading for the sun of Los Angeles. But we never lost our love for our Chicago sports teams, especially the Cubs. I'm especially glad that the Cubs won the World Series this year, for so many reasons - one of them being that Tom got to see them win a World Series in his lifetime. Because I found out last Sunday that Tom passed away that previous week. It's a big loss for me and one that I've spent the week processing feelings about. Tom (who I called Gerald - long story) was a good friend of mine and someone who I visited often when I went to Colorado. I always stayed at the house in Boulder with Tom and his wife Nancy and I have great memories of time spent together. And Tom and I remained good friends all these years, even though his handball career ended years ago due to an array of injuries. Tom was a good handball player and a better friend. The players out in the Denver/Boulder area knew him well - not so much around the country, as he didn't travel much to tournaments. But he loved the game, like so many of us do. And his passing is a loss to me. Safe travels, my friend. Colorado will never be the same for me. - Randy Multack, Bellevue, Was.
Fred Hepp Sr., Naples, FL
Fred H Hepp Sr. passed away Friday January 6, 2017 in the presence of his loving family. Fred was born December 18, 1934 to Eva and Herman Hepp in Chicago Illinois. He was predeceased by his parents, brothers Harold, Joe and sister Elaine, son Scottie, and wife Susie Darlene Hepp.Fred enlisted in the US Army in 1951 and was awarded the Bronze Medal during the Korean War winter conflict. He was honorably discharged April 1960.Fred is survived by his loving wife Marie Estelle Hepp; sister Helen; children, Ralph, Kathleen, Rebecca (Frank), Fred Jr.(Jackie) Kyle lll (Diane), Donald (Cindy), Bobby (Melanie). Many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He had many close relatives and friends and was greatly loved by all.Fred owned and operated F.W. Kline & Sons, Inc. In Bellwood Illinois for 30 years. He was known in the Chicago area as "Mr. Dorcheck". He enjoyed an early retirement and became a resident of Marco Island, Florida. He was honored by the White House in 1976 for his fine service to the Northwest Lions National Little League in Chicago. Leo Durocher also honored him for his contributions to little league. Fred was an avid handball player, golfer and traveler. He had an incredible zest for life.Fred's celebration of life will be Saturday January 14. Woodlawn Funeral Home in Forest Park, Illinois. Private viewing for family members will be at 10 to 11 AM, with public visitation being from 11 AM until time of funeral service 12 Noon. Interment to follow at Woodlawn Cemetery. Donations may be made in Fred's name to St.Jude's Children's Hospital or The Salvation Army. For further information please call (708) 442-8500 or visit www.woodlawnchicago.com.
Dr. Bob Shack, Short Hills, N.J.
On Christmas Eve, New Jersey handball lost a special person when Dr. Bob Shack, 73, passed away in Short Hills, N.J., due to a nervous system disorder.
Dr. Shack was a member of the North Jersey Handball League championship Orange 'A' teams which won four consecutive titles during the 1970s. He also partnered with Joe Thomas to win a number of John Sabo Memorial New Jersey Handball Doubles championships in masters and golden masters divisions.
More importantly, he helped many New Jersey handball players with their medical conditions. Dr. Shack was a surgeon at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ, and he referred players to the best specialists he knew in New Jersey and New York City.
Estelle Hirsch Aber, Los Gatos, CA.
(Sep. 10, 1919 - Dec. 23, 2016)
Estelle was born in New York but moved to California in 1948, living mostly in San Jose. She is survived by her two son's Michael (predeceased by Valerie Galey), Jeffrey (Janice), grandson Joshua (Brooke) and two great-grandchildren Hudson and Lily. She was happily married to Sol Aber (a USHA Grand Master) for 67 years who passed in 2008. She enjoyed her time with their many friends traveling, especially to handball tournaments with Sol, playing pan and mahjong and working her crossword puzzles. While her body was failing, her mind and spirit remained sharp. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to a charity of your choice .
Ross Willis, Blacksburg, VA.
On November 14th, Ross Willis of Blacksburg, VA, had just finished several great handball games with his Blacksburg friends at the handball courts on the VA Tech campus when he collapsed and died walking to his car. Ross was a well known player in the Blacksburg/Roanoke area. Ross was 63 years old and had retired in 2015 after working in VA Tech's Biochemistry Department for 35 years.
Patrick Gerald McVey, St. Louis, MO.
(Aug. 18, 1959 - Nov. 9, 2016)
Pat McVey, 57, lifelong handball player and member of the St. Louis Hinder Club was murdered November 9th enroute to his club for a SLHC League match. Pat was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds around 6 p.m. when a MoDOT worker spotted his car parked on the shoulder of I-55 and stopped to investigate. Police say he had been shot about 2:30 p.m. The shooter is still unknown and Crime Stoppers (1-866-371-8477 for Tips or Donations) is offering rewards upwards of $60,000 for information.
Pat loved the “Perfect Game” but played only locally, devoting his life to family and his restaurant, “Maggie O’Brien’s Restaurant & Irish Pub”. A St. Louis native, Pat had been at Maggie's more than three decades, working under the original owner before eventually taking over with younger brother Eddie. The sprawling sports bar and restaurant is host to Missouri State Handball Tournaments in addition to being a favorite of Blues and Cards fans. Pat was a gifted athlete, sportsman, and true gentleman. He delighted in helping others and was always willing to spend time with new players and will be fondly remembered by the St. Louis Handball community.
Pat is survived by his wife Marianne, daughter Maggie, son Michael, and 10 siblings.
Ed McHugh, Pittsburgh, PA.
Pittsburgh handball tragically lost its all-time favorite player on October 20, 2016, when Ed McHugh, DDS passed away at the age of 58. Ed was a rising star during the 1970's & 1980' s, the golden age of Pittsburgh handball, when the Pittsburgh Handball Association boasted over 150 locally ranked players. Always a threat to local legends Rick Abrams, Mike Flaherty, Ken Foster, Bob Nell, Mark Abranovic, Tom Feola, Rod Fink, Tom Cornelius, Steve Mele, Jim Sanders and David Fink, Ed broke through in the early 90s, laying claim to Pittsburgh's #1 ranking.
Ed's gentlemanly, laid-back manner, both on and off the court, belied his intense competitiveness, where his stamina, retrieving ability and complete ambidexterity often had his opponents looking for oxygen half way through the first game. It appeared that Ed would intentionally pass up kill opportunities just to run his opponents into the ground. But Ed's demeanor never wavered-polite and always exhibiting excellent sportsmanship. Outside the court, Ed displayed quiet character and dignity, an excellent hard-working dentist and role model to his beloved son, Joey.
It was, however, in open doubles where Ed's dominate left hand frustrated nationally recognized teams both at home and away - notching signature wins in Cleveland, Sharon, PA, Youngstown, Albany and Penn State - as well as the prestigious Pittsburgh Open. Always humble, Ed would often say after each Open title, "I have no idea why they kept serving to Jeff (Roth); he's the better player."
Ed was the son of legendary handballer, Joe McHugh, who together with Eleanor, raised a fine gentleman and friend to all who had the privilege to spend time with him in our little world.
Jeff Boyd, Rochester, NY.
Jeff Boyd passed away on July 11th, 2016 at the age of 71 as a result of cardiac arrest in Butner, North Carolina. Born on January 23rd, 1945 in Buffalo, New York, he grew up in nearby East Aurora and later moved to Front Royal, Virginia. As a contract computer programmer with months- to year-long contracts for companies from Intel to Raytheon, he lived in many cities: Baltimore, Portland, Cedar Rapids, Colorado Springs, and Rochester, among others.
Jeff constantly questioned, wanting to better understand the fundamentals of math and physics on one hand and how society could be better constructed to fulfill people’s potential on the other. But for a balanced life, another passion was handball. In each city in which he lived he was part of the handball community and developed many strong friendships. He is survived by his brother, Tom, children, Tim, Toddie, Jennifer, Oliver, Diana, and Sam, 11 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren and will be missed by both family and friends.
Joel Jones, Durango, CO.
Joel Jones, a fellow player, benefactor, and friend to many in our handball fraternity has passed. Joel loved handball and played for many years in Albuquerque and Durango. He was a strong supporter of the handball camps conducted over the years in Durango by Pete Tyson, John Bike and others. He often hosted receptions for campers at his home. Joel fought the good fight against the Big C with the same determination he brought to the handball court.
Vince Breining, San Francisco
The handball world lost a good man and great friend on July 5. Vince Breining, 63, was instrumental in Golden Gate Park Handball tournaments for many years. Vince learned handball at the “Park,” and became one of the top right side doubles players in the Bay Area. Over the years, Breining partnered and won with Mike Treacy, Mike Kelly and Gary Stedman. Unfortunately, diabetes and a shoulder injury took him off the court but didn’t diminish his enthusiasm for the game or its players. Always upbeat and a pleasure to spend time with, Vince will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Art Pruitt, Flint, MI
Art Pruitt, age 83, passed away Friday, May 13, 2016 at Hurley Medical Center. Art was a longtime handball player in Michigan who played and supported many four-wall and three-wall tournaments. Read Charlie Doyle's "My Friend Art" tribute HERE.
Ed Rice, Wilmington, DE.
Ed Rice, winner of many local and regional tournaments representing the Wilmington YMCA, died May 8 at 99. Ed was the captain of the Y handball team in the Mason/Dixon League. He also organized the “First State Doubles” at the YMCA that drew many of the best players in East during the 60s and 70s.
Vince Magi, Detroit, MI.
Vince Magi died on April 21, 2016. Vince took up handball to develop hand eye coordination and stamina as an outfielder on the Michigan State Baseball Team. It obviously helped. He later was at the top level in the Minnesota Twins Farm Club System as an outfielder Unfortunately the Twins had Harmon Killibrew, Jim Lemon and another great outfielder ahead of him. In college he'd discussed after college careers with Mike Ilitch a teammate. Mike was talking Pizza, Mike? Pizza? No, no, you want to go into something solid, steady like teaching advised Vince. So Vince went into teaching and Mike went into Pizza---think Little Caesers. Vince played at many handball venues and gathered many honors highlighted by the 1981 National Golden Masters Doubles Three Wall Championship.
Gabe Enriquez, Los Angeles
Gabe Enriquez, a member of the SCHA and LAAC Handball Halls of Fame passed away in January 2016. Gabe was survived by his wife Luz and brother Miguel. A great player, a great mentor and promoter of the game, Gabe’s memory will live on in the fabled LAAC.
Ronald Miller, Albany, NY
Ronald H. Miller, 76, whose big heart, easy manner and devotion to public service endeared him to disparate communities of friends and family members in the Capital Area and beyond, died early Saturday, January 23, 2016, at St. Peter's Hospital. Wearing with pride the distinctive accent of his native Bronx, Miller was a 45 year resident of the Albany area, most of that time in Menands. Among his lifelong passions, Miller was an avid handball player, expert in the indoor four wall game. He took First Place in the 1986 Capital District Handball Championships, and acquired generations of handball friends, and in recent years, doubles partners - through his active involvement in the Court Club in Colonie.
Michael Haas, Los Angeles
Michael Haas, a long time handball player in Southern California, passed away on December 31, 2015. He had been battling AML cancer for eight months. Michael was always a pleasure on the court. He was very agile, played hard and had an awesome ceiling shot. I played him twenty years ago at Supreme Courts in Van Nuys and most recently at Spectrum Club in Canoga Park. Michael didn’t play many tournaments but he won a few rounds in the USHA Nationals a couple years ago, I believe in the 70 “B” singles. Michael was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1941. He was a hard working family man and a computer programmer. He would often pass up handball games to go square dancing with Barbara. Can you believe it? Michael is survived by his wife Barbara of 53 years. His two sons, Jeremy and Daniel, and granddaughter Emma.
Burton Mandel, St. Louis.
Burton Mandel died December 23, 2015. Beloved husband of Patricia A. Mandel for 31 years. Dear father of Neil (Jenny) Mandel, Todd Mandel and the late Michael Mandel. Dear step-father of Michael DeBlasi and Nicole Wagner. Loving grandfather of Joshua and Alexis Mandel, Aaron and Hailey Wagner. Dear brother of Stuart (Paula) Mandel and the late Alan Mandel. Beloved son of the late Mac and Charlotte Mandel. Our dear uncle, cousin and friend. Burt loved the game and though not the best player, he had power and could hop the ball both ways. In addition to playing, Mandel had a passion for recruiting and mentoring new players. Burt especially enjoyed watching sons Neil and Todd play. Whenever Neil asked his dad about heaven, Burt would respond: “Oh, you mean the big handball court in the sky.”
William (Bill) Barry, Jacksonville, Fla.
Bill Barry (94), passed away peacefully after a short illness on Aug. 27, 2015 with his family by his side. Barry was born in Pawtucket, RI and served as a Captain in WWII, stationed in Marseille, France, where he met and married his wife Suzette. After the war, they moved back to Pawtucket where Barry earned his degree from Providence College. He then moves his wife and family of four to Tampa, where he worked as a chemist at the US Phosphate Plant. In 1959, he relocated to Jacksonville, where he started his career with the Internal Revenue Service, retiring in 1981.
Bill was a fierce competitor and avid handball player at the YMCA and prided himself in beating much younger players, well into his 80s. He’ll be remembered as a very charitable, loving and kind man.
Father Bill Esposito, Syracuse, NY.
Father Bill Esposito (82), was born in 1933 and ordained a priest in 1958. A man among men, he listened, he helped, he cared and he always had time for anyone from any walk of life. Bill was active in the community, ran in the Boston Marathon, skied, swam, loved golf, but as a fierce competitor he enjoyed handball and the close friends he developed as a result. He had a great deal of influence on those he played with, including a cleaner vocabulary on his court of competition. A staph infection took him but he will be missed and remembered for his highest of standards and dedication to his beliefs, family, church and life. And his impact on handball in Syracuse will remain.