Rising In The Ranks

RankName & City

Junior Master (5)

Phil Bertoni, South Bend; Thomas Blesch, Angola; Marilyn Branco, Schererville; James Canino, Auburn; Judy Christiansen, Kokomo; Anne Clark, Munster; Connie Dicke, Garrett; Lebrun Frye, Auburn; Jeff Gallagher, Mishawaka; Trudy Gallagher, Mishawaka; Ruth Hagerty, New Carlisle; Nancy Hullinger, Auburn; Barbara McAfee, Syracuse; Mary Lou McFadden, Long Beach; Mary O’Neil, Long Beach; Shelley Parson, Waterloo; Renee Preniczny, South Bend; Treyton Sederstrom, Cedar Lake; Harley Snyder, Valparaiso; Heidi Studebaker, Chesterton; Rosanne, Voelkel, Auburn; Robert Werner, South Bend; Susan Widman, Granger; Tom Widman, Granger

Club Master (20)

Stephen Beckley, Fort Wayne; Thomas Blesch, Angola; Susan Brandstetter, Porter; Carol Crosby, Fort Wayne; Marie Harris, Fort Wayne; Judith Kearns, Granger; Edwin Kelley, Auburn; Sandi Malott, Fort Wayne; Ellie Parkerson, Long Beach; Kim Tubergen, Angola;

Sectional Master (50)

Terry Brendel, Valparaiso; Lee Malizia, Long Beach; Varsha Mapara, Fort Wayne; Roy Martin, Auburn; Patrick O’connell, Warsaw; Deb Raftree, Fort Wayne; Helen Ryan, Fort Wayne; Dean Teagno, Fort Wayne

Regional Master (100)

Susan Farrington, South Bend; Donald Grote, Chesterton; Joanne Sobol, Fort Wayne

NABC Master (200)

Dimi Cooklev, Fort Wayne; Brian Lanier, Fort Wayne

ADV. NABC Master (300)

Marcy Tomes, Valparaiso
Sally Will

LIFE MASTER (500) Sally Will, Valparaiso

Rich Will

LIFE MASTER (500) Richard Will, Valparaiso

Chuck Tomes

LIFE MASTER (500) & Bronze LIFE MASTER (750) Charles Tomes, Valparaiso

My bridge story is similar to many.  My mother taught me the rudiments of the game when I was in high school.  I played in college where I joined the ACBL and played in some sanctioned games.  After college, I played occasionally for a few years. Then marriage, children, and a teaching career, kept me away from bridge except for an occasional social game.  In 2015, after an absence of a little less than forty years, I played at a sanctioned game in Chesterton, Indiana.  My wife, Marcy, and I attended with Lori and Tom Rea.  It was a date night of dinner and bridge.  I was hooked and started playing in local games in Northwest Indiana.  In 2020, Marcy and I went to the Indianapolis Regional with Rich and Sally Will, where we won our first gold points.  Then the pandemic arrived and we did not play for eighteen months. In November 2022, we played at the Elizabeth, Indiana Regional, where we won over 17 gold points, putting me over for both Life Master and Bronze Life Master.  The Gold Rush games have been good to us.  I would like to thank all of the partners I have played with, especially my best partner, my wife Marcy.  I could not have done this without her. 

Lee Baatz

BRONZE LIFE MASTER (750) Lee Baatz, Columbia City

steve Harvey

BRONZE LIFE MASTER (750) Steve Harvey, Decatur

Loren Jackemeyer

BRONZE LIFE MASTER (750) Loren Jackemeyer, Lehigh Acres

Judy Cotterman SLM

SILVER LIFE MASTER (1000) Judith Cotterman, Kokomo

Judy Cotterman became a Silver Mas,ter by going over 1000MPS at the local club in
Kokomo.  She joined ACBL in1983.  In 1993 ACBL hired her as a tournament director, and by 1998 she was working in the IN room at all of the NABCs. She has always worked with new players and often was in charge of that area at tournaments.

She went over the 1000 point mark was very excited because her partner,
Nicki Howell, was very new player to the Kokomo club and a novice.  She was her pickup partner for the day.  Nicki’s usual partner was not available. Judy only needed .51 to go over, but Judy and Nicki did it in style and tied for first place, getting almost two points, since it was a club championship.

Bridge has been a very big part of Judy’s life over the last 40 years.  She has had the opportunity to meet so many people, especially, novice players and watch them advance the ranks.  Judy says, “They have blessed my life in so many ways so it was fun to be blessed once again by a new player.”   

Don Groch - SLM

SILVER LIFE MASTER (1000) Donald Groch, South Bend

If you’re looking for words of wisdom along with a bit of wit, look no further than Don Groch.  The softspoken SBBC member is not only an excellent bridge player, but he is
also a director.  They really appreciate his taking on that responsibility.

 Don was born in Michigan City to Gabby and Celia (Schultz) Groch. Gabby was a tavern owner and Don considers that part of his education. He also went to Notre Dame, New Mexico and graduated from IU Bloomington. In 1962 he married Joanne Taylor and did military service in Heidelberg Germany. They really enjoyed it. After Military Service Don went to work as a computer software analyst for Honeywell and Clark Equipment. After that he formed a company with several partners called Intracomp. Don started playing lunch hour Bridge 40 years ago and changed to Duplicate 20 years ago. Don has two daughters (Amanda and Melissa) and about sixty aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, nieces and nephews.      CONGRATULATIONS DON!

SILVER LIFE MASTERS (1000) Anne Murphy, Chesterton

William Wendt, La Porte

Suzanne Wright, Kokomo

Marci Meyer

RUBY LIFE MASTER (1500) Marci Meyer, Long Beach

Our heartiest congratulations to Marci Meyer who just recently became a Ruby Life Master.  Marci is the Secretary/Treasurer of Northern Indiana Unit 154 and, even though she lives in Long Beach and plays in the Michigan City Club, she has joined the South Bend group and often makes the trip to play there.

 Marci grew up in Nebraska where she attended Wayne State College. Like many of us, Marci started playing contract bridge in college when she met her future husband, Keith.  He was quite an expert and said he could teach her in no time at all.  He forgot to tell her that 1NT means different things in different places.  So, in their first game, Marci bid 1NT, Keith bid 6NT and of course she went down. But she had her 6-9 points! (Never happened to any of us, right?) 

Unfortunately, Marci lost her husband and favorite partner last year.  She misses him greatly and we are glad to have her with us.  CONGRATS, MARCI!

RUBY LIFE MASTERS (1500) Thomas Kelly, Fort Wayne

Zafar Khan, Crown Point

Linda Podlin, Niles

Wayne Carpenter GLM

GOLD LIFE MASTER (2500) Wayne Carpenter, Chesterton

GOLD LIFE MASTERS (2500) Yuan Hsu, Hammond

Lynne Kostopoulos, Schererville

SAPPHIRE LIFE MASTERS (3500) Daniel Simon, Gary

DIAMOND LIFE MASTERS (5000) Louis Nimnicht, Crown Point