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In Memoriam

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

February 2018

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.

January 2018

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.

Ed will be buried on January 10, 2018 at 11 am, at the Alta Mesa Cemetery in Palo Alto on 695 Arastradero Road, followed by a celebration of life at the Palo Alto Elks Club located at 4249 El Camino Real. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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.

December 2017

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.
-Kit Peterson

 

 

November 2017

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




October 2017

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.

 

September 2017

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.

Daniels Family
Funeral Services
7601 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109

 

July 2017

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.

May 2017

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!!!

John Davis,
Bartlett, Ill.

 

 

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.

 

April 2017

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

January 2017

Tom Cunningham, Boulder, Colo.

Thomas Cunningham ObituaryTom 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 Hepp ObituaryFred 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.  

December 2016

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 .

 

November 2016

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.  

October 2016

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.

Rodney Fink
.   

July 2016

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.

 

May 2016

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.

 

April 2016

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.

 

January 2016

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.

 


December 2015

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.” 


November 2015

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.

 

 

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