News and Updates at Unit 154

70% + Games

Don Giedemann, Valparaiso & Judy Selund, Valparaiso: 73.61% 11/26
Joe Chin, Highland & Zafar Khan, Crown Point: 70.24% 12/07
Lee Boser, Elkhart & Bob Knoblock, South Bend: 71.88% 12/15
Lou Nimnicht, Crown Point & John Goring, Frankfort, IL: 73.99% 12/16
Fred Green,Valparaiso & Terry Brendel, Valparaiso: 72.00% 12/17
Kim Grant, Fort Wayne & Joe Shull, New Haven: 71.11% 12/31
Joe Kohne & Tom Carpenter, Fort Wayne: 73.15% 1/14
Norm Szewczyk, Lansing, IL & Yuan Hsu, Hammond: 75.00% 1/14
Richard Hastings, Bristol & Richard Mao, Mishawaka: 72.69% 1/16
Dimi Cooklev, Fort Wayne & Lee Baatz, Columbia City: 71.13% 1/23


Lou Nimnicht (left) and John Goring (right) not only attained a 73.99% (this is the Common Game percentage) at the Calumet Bridge Club, but did it with an extraordinary flair — which is an instinctive ability for doing something well and doing it in an exciting way. They were first overall in The Common Game of the 4418 pairs playing the same boards that Monday morning. Huge victory — to say the least!!!

John and Lou were first and second, respectively, for December in The Common Game — for points awarded for each finish in a Common Game event. Clearly, they played in a number of games and must have consistently played well all month long. Hats off! John’s total Common Game points were 102.36 and Lou’s were 102.20. (The next highest on the Leader Board had a total of 93.92 points.) A congratulatory cake highlighted a celebration in their honor.



On Wednesdays and Saturdays the Community Bridge Club plays at the multi-purpose center in Calumet Township, where there is a shelter that temporarily houses those in need of a home. The local charity fees go to that organization to purchase necessary supplies. For 2019 the
contribution has amounted to a $602 donation.

Also, due to the extreme generosity of Pat Valiska, all of the pictured toys, books and games were presented to the shelter. Pat stated that she had many enjoyable hours playing with these with her grandchildren, and she wanted other children to enjoy them. The items are in excellent condition and will be given to clients who enter the emergency homeless shelter.  Pictured is Alan Yngve, bridge director, Pat Valiska, donor of the toys and Brenda Hunter, manager of the multi-purpose center.


After losing the beautiful smile of Tricia Killeen, our now retired Club Manager, we were delighted to find out that we would be gaining a radiant replacement, Marty Martin. She comes to us from Niles where she attended school, met her husband at 15, and never wanted anyone else.  Three years later they were married, and enjoyed 47 wonderful years together.  Their love produced two chilidren, Geoff and Priscilla who then gave her special grandchildren, Alina & Brayden.  Wayne’s work took them to many cities but when they moved back  to Niles, she began working at several local banks for a total of 26 years. Her mother was a very good bridge player, who played until she was over 100, but Marty did not learn to play party bridge until 1984 in Omaha. Later, after not playing for 15 years, she began playing with Jan Houseman, Linda Podlin and Joan Tobler with her Mom occasonally substituting.  During that time Jan and Linda mentioned the Bridge Center and suggested she take lessons and join when she retired. So, calling the Bridge Center was one of the first things she did when she retired. Wayne and she started taking lessons in 2014 and they played together until his death in 2015. Marty plays most often with Margaret Lewis in the 399er section but is found often playing in the open section with Candy Hurwich and Joan Tobler.  What a wonderful addition she has been working as a hostess, being a Board Member, assisting at many of our functions, serving on many of the various committees that work so hard to make the South Bend Bridge Club fun!   WELCOME, MARTY



South Bend Bridge Club welcomed Merrill Crull to their 90+ wall as he reached the impressive age of 90 on January 14th.  He is a major force among the 399er players and has many stories to tell about his colorful life.  Pictured here is their New Club Manager, Marty Martin, presenting Merrill with a gift from the Club along with celebratory cake and ice cream.


South Bend has many diverse and interesting players in their club who, they believe, should be honored.  They are presenting their list for the past year, 2019. Below are the winners in the following categories:

  • Tom Hallum- The Drama Award for his Oscar-winning theatrical bidding & playing (repeat recipient).
  • All the 399ers - The Most Improved Player Award
  • Tricia Killeen - Most Valuable Member Award (Their now retired Club Manager).
  • Candy Hurwich - The Style Trend Setter Award for wearing the most colorful, most creative and highest heels.
  • Joan Tobler - The Hardest Worker While at Table #6.  She always seems to get a partner for someone,  mentors new players, teaches,  etc. etc. etc.
  • Connie Hebron - The Gazing at the Ceiling for Guidance Award as she figures out what to bid.
  • Hugh Metzger - The Pun of the Week Award giving us something to groan about other than the bad cards we are getting.
  • Donna Tieman - The Southern Charm  Award for her delightful drawl and the best pecan pie.
  • Raji Sundararajan - The Most Difficult Surname Award for a name that’s hard to pronounce or spell.
  • Dick Hastings - The Busy Hands Award  for pointing back & forth between the board and his bridge hand when declaring.  Whatever he does, it works!
  • Margaret Lewis - The Lasso Award for rounding up the most 399ers for the Second Tuesday Swiss Team game each month.
  • Jo Ann Steigmeyer - The Christmas Fashionista Award  for wearing a different Christmas top every day in December.
  • Conrad Adams - The You’re So Glad to See Me  Award for really making us glad to see him - just as he says!


Winners of the Fort Wayne Bridge Club 2019 Masterpoint race were Michael Clegg (152.69 MPs) and Kim Grant (149.68 MPs). The totals represent number of points won in club games from November 30, 2018 to December 1, 2019. We are proud of these top players!


At FWDBC’s Holiday party December 14, about 100 players enjoyed a catered lunch, voted for new board members, and saw two club members receive awards. Kim Grant, Kris Purcell and David Sorg are the new board members, elected for three-year terms starting in 2020. Congratulations and thanks for agreeing to serve!


In January of 2019 the Fort Wayne DBC began offering a monthly Pro-Am Swiss team game, initially replacing one of our regular Pro-Am (mentoring) games on the third Thursday of each month. In May the team games were moved to Mondays to attract additional players not involved in the mentoring game. Players are ranked at oneof three skill levels and the total team number cannot exceed nine. Teams usually consist of two pairs made up of a more and a less skilled player, or of a more skilled pair playing with a less skilled pair. This game, which now regularly attracts 12 to 14 teams, has helped our players at different skill levels get to know each other, learn team strategies, and have a lot of fun! Pictured are January Winners: Judy Nelsen, Steve Ball, Ann Marie Wallace, Darrell Culley.


Kim Grant received the Annamarie and Michael Bonahoom award for service above and beyond to the Fort Wayne Bridge Club. Retired Director Mike Bonahoom was present to name Kim as the honoree, who is chosen annually by the board. Kim, thanks for all you have done.


March 16, 1927 – January 7, 2020

Bernice Gebhart passed away recently. For many years she was a regular in the Fort Wayne Wednesday-299er game. A diminutive, but friendly, woman, Bernice loved the game of bridge. In her later years as aging took a toll on her stature, she could barely see over the edge of the table. She actually had to reach up to play her cards. However, that did not deter her from being extremely competitive. She loved to declare. She loved to defend. Simply put: she loved the game. Her smile and her competitiveness will be missed. Play well, Bernice.

James Bernard Heiner
July 16, 1943 - Dec. 25, 2019

Born in Villejo, California, Jim, at an early age, was determined to experience life so he toured Europe on a motorcycle. Later, after attending UCLA,  he earned his master degree from San Jose State.  Jim loved outdoor activities but his greatest love was music.  In college he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy but it never stopped his zest for living.  He defied the odds by teaching for over 43 years and directed numerous choirs & musicals.  He enjoyed watching old movies, playing competitve bridge & babysitting his grandchildren.  He is survived by his loving wife, Jody, his children & grandchildren.  We are blessed that he spent time with us.

Elizabeth Joan “Betty Jo” Miller
 April 3, 1930 - January 7, 2020

Even though Betty Jo loved tennis, camping, walking and other forms of physical exercise, she found time to come to the Bridge Center and “just sit” and exercise her mind.  She not only played the game but she often took lessons to improve.  There was great fun and love shared with her husband of 67 years, Bob, who also haunted our bridge center.  Betty Jo brought with her  wonderful smiles and warm greetings for all her friends.  She will be greatly missed.  Our condolences to her family.

Norman Muller
Dec. 30, 1930 - Jan. 19. 2020

The 399ers will certainly feel the loss of Norm Muller.  He and his wife, Mary, made bridge a fun experience. Norm served his country in the Air Force for 28 years as an engineer and was a Vietnam veteran.  Armed with several degrees, his last assignment was as a professor of aerospace at Notre Dame where he retired as a Colonel in 1978.  He is survived by his wife of 66 years, children, and great grandchildren.  WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR HIS TIME WITH US