NSA member birth and marriage announcements and obituaries from 2004:

January 2004

John Cornelius, age 85, passed away on January 7th at his home. He was one of the founding members of the Dayton, OH club.

-- Wilma Swank-Pitzer

February 2004

Stanley H. Rubinsky, 58, of Palm Desert died Feb. 14, 2004, in Palm Desert. He was born Sept. 23, 1945, to Mark and Sally Miller Rubinsky in Harrisburg, Pa. He married Diane M. DeLong on July 13, 1991, in Vancouver, Wash. He was a special education teacher for 37 years, most recently at Thomas Jefferson Middle School for 13 years where he received the Teacher of the Year award in 1999. He was a National Scrabble Champion and a member of the Audubon Society. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard. He is survived by his wife, Diane DeLong Rubinsky of Palm Desert; and two brothers, David Rubinsky of Harrisburg, Pa., and Michael Miles of Philadelphia. A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Feb. 27 at Palm Springs Mortuary in Cathedral City. Entombment will be at Evergreen Memorial Gardens with Palm Springs Mortuary in charge of arrangements. The family suggests that donations be made to the American Diabetes Association.

-- Forwarded by Brian Cappelletto from a Palm Springs newspaper.

Steve Pellinen and Lisa Odom, after a self-described short engagement of thirteen years (three formally), were married on Leap Day in a private, beachside ceremony on the island of Kauai, followed by a two-week honeymoon in New Zealand. Steve writes that they spent part of the trip playing SOWPODS at the Nelson SCRABBLE club on South Island, and the rest doing more typical tourist activities like driving around South Island. They were "thoroughly enamoured with its natural beauty and the friendliness of its people."

March 2004

Gordon Shapiro passed away on March 14, aged 64.

Gordon Shapiro left a lasting impression as a burly truck driver who was a top expert for 25 years. He finished 8th in the 1988 National SCRABBLE Championship and had won numberous expert division tournaments throughout the years. Beneath his often gruff exterior hid a heart of gold with an impish sense of humour. He was a regular each year at many mid-Atlantic and Northeastern tournaments, and was scheduled to play this year, as he had in each of Mady Garner's 17 annual Tennessee tournaments, whidch was held just a week after his passing.

-- Mady Garner

Jessica Kubo, daughter of a school librarian where I worked with my first School Scrabble club, died of an apparent seizure while taking a bath. Jessica was only 22. She dealt with many problems including epilepsy and bipolar disorder. To be structured bothered her, so after a year or so in our club, she stopped coming last summer. She was a delight, marching to her own drummer. She only went to one tournament--Lampasas, Texas in 2003. Her memorial service yesterday, only hours after I returned from Pigeon Forge, was a true remembrance of Jessica, with as many laughs as tears as we remembered her life.

-- Mary Rhoades

Dorothy Cook, 84, may be a little more familiar to some of you, although there were only a few times she ventured outside of Texas tournaments. She joined our club in August of 1988 and was very faithful until she had to stop coming about 2 or 3 years ago because her mobility became a problem. She persisted in coming even when her car was stolen from a hotel where our club was meeting. She attended at least one Florida tournament and perhaps one in Gatlinburg, but mostly Texas tournaments.

-- Mary Rhoades

Tim Wade (1949-2004) passed away on March 22, in Muncie IN. Bob Lipton recalls meeting Tim and his brother Bill in Las Vegas in 1987, at his second tournament ever. He describes been "skunked royally" by both of them, with the margin of defeat being over 200 points in each game. Tim was "one of the nicer fellows you'd ever want to meet."

May 2004

Former American National and World champion Brian Cappelletto was married to Wendy Shparago on May 8. The wedding was attended by a large group of family and friends, including SCRABBLE players Chris Cree (and his wife,Cathy), Jim Geary, Mike Baron, Jim Wait, Marty Gabriel, Daiva Markelis, Harriette Lakernicki, and Bob Denn.

June 2004

NSA director and indefatigable tournament organizer Margaret Bauer Williams passed away on June 10, while on vacation in Tijuana, Mexico, at the age of 60. Margaret was involved with the tournament Scrabble scene for more than twenty years, as an expert players, a club director, and as the organizer of many popular tournaments such as Atlantic City, and Bird-in-Hand. Her work was recognized by the Scrabble community in 1999, when she was named the Michael Wise NSA Director of the Year. Her gentle patience and enthusiasm for the game will be missed by the many people whose lives were enriched by her presence.

Proud parents Dave and Chris Wiegand and new sister Sammie are happy to announce the birth of Melanie Brynn Wiegand on June 26th, weighing 8 lbs. 12 oz. and measuring 22-1/4 in. long.

Long-time Scrabble player Jimmy Neuberger was married to Helen Lynne Stambler on June 20th.

August 2004

Ed Ugarte, a long-time player and the person to introduce anagrams to tournament culture, passed away. A retired teacher and Long Island club director, he is remembered as a very nice man with a great attitude towards the game.

Current Canadian Champion and former World Champion Dave Boys and the new Mrs. Canadian Champion, Kate Doe, were married at their home on August 28.

October 2004

Edith (Baron) Kammerer, mother of long-time expert player Mike Baron, passed away October 11. She introduced Mike to the game, came to a few events like the Grand Canyon, and helped out at the Durango Tamarron event, where they hosted a Scrabble party in the Presidential Suite. She was 84.

It is with a great sense of personal loss that I inform you of the sudden death last night (October 17) of my fellow director, business associate and most of all friend, Tim Maneth. What makes this untimely demise so poignantly shocking is the fact that we had just completed an intensely productive four days together planning and executing the annual Baltimore Tournament. Despite his recurring and chronic health issues, he was still an assertive and passionately vital man. Tim had survived seven heart attacks over the past few years and the loss of his beloved former wife, Margaret Bauer. Scrabble has lost one of its foremost pioneers.

--Matt Hopkins

David Shulman, lexicographer, etymologist, logophile, cryptographer and early Scrabble expert, died in Brooklyn on October 30, aged 91.

November 2004

Congratulations to Luna and Ben Greenwood on the arrival of Luka Moon Greenwood, born on March 19th, 2004.

Congratulations to 1993 World SCRABBLE® Champion Mark Nyman and his wife Helen on the birth of their son Max on November 13th, one month early, weighing 5 lbs. 7 oz. and in good health.

Congratulations to Dannene Drummond and Jason Bednarz on the birth of their daughter Jada Abigail (a sister for Zach) on November 11th, weighing 6 lbs. 8 oz., 19-3/4 in. long.

December 2004

Ralph Neubeck passed away on December 17th of pancreatic cancer. A punster par excellence and an inspiring history teacher as well as a member of the Seattle Scrabble club, he will be missed.

Pat Tolhurst of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, passed away on December 22nd after a brief battle with cancer. She was a beloved member of NSA Clubs #193 (Brantford), #471 (Cambridge) and #546 (Stratford), and an active tournament player and tournament helper. She was an important part of the Scrabble community and will be sorely missed by her many friends.

--John Robertson

Ruth Cross of Spartanburg, SC, passed away at the age of 91 on December 23rd. I first met Ruth in 1984 after a local newspaper described her victory at an Atlanta tournament. Unaware that Scrabble tournaments had even existed, I called her and played a few games at her house that very night, beginning a long-term friendship both at and away from the board. She was known and loved by many in our world, and her quiet manner and sweet smile made her a joy to be around. After her eyes and health began to fail her, she continued to play by mail, and as long as she was able there was nothing she enjoyed more than a good game of Scrabble. We will certainly miss her.

--David Gibson

Verna Jackson, 73, died on December 31st in Naples FL after a four-year battle with cancer. She was a longtime member of Club #340 in the Chicagoland area and more recently of Club #508 in Ft. Myers, FL. Her many Scrabble friends throughout the country will sorely miss her.

-- Liz Berman


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