Jacoby Award Recipients

2016 - Paul Cuneo - Unit 174

Unit 174 is proud to congratulate Paul Cuneo for being chosen to receive the District 16 Jacoby Award, the District’s highest honor.

Paul retired from Shell Oil Company in 2002 after a 33 year career. In Paul’s last position, he was Chief Information Officer for Shell Oil Products Company. In this position he was responsible for all Information Technology for the company and reported to the CEO. Paul holds a Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineer degree from Colorado School of Mines. He has lived in Houston since 1990.

In addition to volunteering at Executive Service Core Houston, Paul volunteers with Between Jobs Ministry at Northwest Bible Church where he is a Deacon and serves on the Bilma PUD Board.

Paul has tirelessly worked to serve the unit and the district, doing whatever needed to be done. Some of his most notable accomplishments were:

  • In support of Unit 174 Paul
    • was first elected to the Unit 174 Board of Directors in 2009,
    • served as Unit President in 2010 and 2012,
    • was responsible for introducing Gold Rush Pairs and Bracketed Swiss team events in 2011, which have proven popular with players,
    • revised the Lone Star Regional schedule to use a morning/afternoon schedule instead of an afternoon/evening one, which has also proven popular with the players,
    • was instrumental in having the Lone Star Regional attendance exceed 3,000 tables in 2010 for the first time since 1999 and keeping it there since, eventually reaching 3529.5 tables in 2013,
    • negotiated agreements to hold the Lone Star Regional and three sectionals each year at the Westchase Marriott at a very attractive cost through 2020,
    • chaired or co-chaired many sectional tournaments and chaired or co-chaired four Lone Star Regionals,
    • reached out to other units and regional chairs asking for their input on running successful tournaments and incorporated those learnings into Unit 174’s procedures,
    • constantly helped to set up and tear down for tournaments, lending a hand wherever it was needed, and
    • updated the Unit Procedures manual to incorporate improved operational methods for the Unit.
  • In support of District 16, Paul
    • traveled to visit with players and Board members from all units during the year promoting membership growth and improved new member retention,
    • began editing and publishing the D16 I/N newsletter in 2015,
      o assisted the USBF by negotiating a contract for the 2018 Open Team Trials in Houston,
    • served as a past District 16 Vice President and President,
    • has served as Education Chair for the District since 2010, and has used this position to promote policies that support teacher and director training,
    • has been the Unit 174 representative on the District board since 2010, and
    • was recently elected as First Alternate District Director to the ACBL Board of Directors.

We know the award was richly deserved!

2015 - Charlie Price - Unit 176

We nominate Charlie Price to be the 2015 recipient of the Oswald and James Jacoby Award.  Though unit 176 has nominated Charlie before for this award, we feel so strongly about his many and varied contributions, that we enthusiastically submit for your consideration Charlie Price to be this year’s recipient.  Charlie has not only met the criteria set forth, he enthusiastically plays locally and in major tournaments with both his peers and aspiring players who have the courage to ask him to be their partner.  I use the term courage from the perspective that many “gold” players intimidate younger/learning players, and Charlie greets them with enthusiasm, encouragement and support.  As we believe building the base of players for the future is crucial to the success of bridge; this perspective, we believe, gives added emphasis to the quality of his many years of service to unit 176 and District 16.

To give some chronology to Charlie’s service, in the 90’s, he chaired 2 of the most successful Dallas regionals at the DFW airport hotel – and this was a challenging location!  For the first of these, he gladly stepped in and took over at the last minute, successfully saving a tournament in trouble.  Then in 1997, he was the Finance Chair for the Dallas Nationals, a terrific successful NABC.    During this time, he served several terms on our Unit Board, during which he served as Vice-President, President and unit representative.  Charlie has also continued to be available for valuable advice and counsel at both the unit and district levels to those who seek his esteemed counsel.

For district 16, Charlie has served as:

  • Executive Secretary
  • 2nd Vice President
  • 1st Vice President
  • President
  • Tournament Committee Chair

Charlie has consistently been willing to enthusiastically help and serve wherever and whenever asked of him.

Lastly, we note that Charlie has taught bridge as a credit course at Austin College for many years.  This not only successfully starts young players, but he further requires them to play in our Dallas January Sectional.  This gives them tournament experience and a sense of the vitality of the bridge community.  We observe as a credit to Charlie’s enthusiasm that many of these students play much more than is required of them at these tournaments.  Unit 176 wants to officially recognize Charlie for his dedication, service and enthusiasm.

2014 - Martha DeCou- Unit 187

Lew Levy

Congratulations to Martha DeCou , winner of the 2014 Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award. This award presented at the Labor Day Regional is given in memory of Oswald and James Jacoby and is in recognition of an indi-vidual's outstanding volunteer service to District 16. Martha was honored with this award for service to both the South Texas unit and to District 16.

We thank Mary Ross for the following testimonial.

“We realize service to the District is involved as well as to the Unit. Martha is a member of the District 16 Board of Directors and attends the breakfast meetings when she can. She was a member of the ACBL Goodwill Committee in 2007. We feel that as the "backbone" of Unit 187 she is also serving the District in that if she were to leave bridge the Unit would proba-bly not fare well. She really does al-most everything here - she of course is tournament chairman which includes the sectionals, and the past 3 or 4 regionals and she will again be chairman of the 2014 regional. She plans all the special games here in our Unit and works diligently in an effort to get as many players to attend as possible. She even takes care of the snacks, drinks, coffee, etc. needed at the Bridge Club. She is an enthusiastic bridge teacher for our new players. As a result we have been able to add a number of new ACBL members and increase the size of our games. Also she is a director and when need be handles our club games. Of course she has been President of the Unit in the past and has received the Texas Star Award and also the Unit Goodwill Award. Unit 187 certainly would not be thriving as it is if it weren't for Mar-tha De Cou and if anyone deserves recognition for the years of work here she certainly does. "

2013 - Carol Schoenhals- Unit 197

Lew Levy

Congratulations to Carol Peden Schoenhals, winner of the 2013 Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award. This award presented at the Fall Dallas Regional is given in memory of Oswald and James Jacoby and is in recognition of an individual's outstanding volunteer service to District 16. Carol was honored with this award for service to both the Llano Estacado (Lubbock) unit and to District 16.

In addition to serving on the board of directors for Unit 197, Carol has also chaired the Rules & Ethics Commit-tee for nearly 20 years. She is currently the Unit Recorder.

Carol joined ACBL in 1974 and be-came a certified director soon there-after. She achieved life master in 1979.

For over 20 years Carol has been an active member of the district board in many capacities including vice-president (2) and president in 2003. She has chaired the district Charity Committee over 10 years.

In 1998 Carol was appointed to a lifetime membership of the ACBL National Goodwill Committee, and in 2004 was appointed to the ACBL National Charity Committee. She received the Unit Goodwill Ambassador award in 2013. Carol has been married to Lyndon (better known as Shag to their bridge family and friends) for 32 years. They have one daughter, Shel-ley, and her husband Ian Barba.

Due to illness and radiation treatments, Carol was unable to attend this regional and the presentation. One of her favorite partners, Linda Spangler, accepted the award on her behalf. When notified of the award Carol replied "I am so honored to have been selected for this prestigious award. It has been through bridge that I have made so many lifelong friendships. Thank you!"

2012 - Lew Levy- Unit 174

Lew Levy Unit 174 nominates Lew Levy for the District 16 Jacoby Award.  Lew has provided outstanding service to the Unit and to District 16.

Lew was elected to the Unit 174 Board of Directors in 2002 for a three year term.  In his first year, Lew was Unit Vice President.  In addition to his other duties, Lew was charged with reviewing and improving the Unit's financial system.  The result was a total revamp of the Unit's accounting system. In order to implement the new system, Lew took on the additional role of  Unit Treasurer.  He performed that role for several months until a permanent replacement could be recruited and trained.  The resulting system enabled the Unit Board to more effectively manage its financial affairs, and allowed the Unit membership to understand the sources and uses of Unit funds.

During Lew's first year on the Board, the Unit President resigned because of health issues, and Lew became President.  He completed the unexpired term, and was elected for a complete term as President the following year.  During his term in office many innovations were introduced including sale of event naming rights for Regional and Sectional events, computerization of the Unit's Policies and Procedures, and updating the Unit Membership Directory.

In the year following his service on the Board, Lew served as Chairman of the Unit's Nominating Committee.

In 2006, District President Dewitt Hudson asked Lew to take on the role of Executive Treasurer.  Lew accepted the assignment and installed a modified version of the financial system he had developed for Unit 174.  The result has been that District Board members are now able to manage their financial affairs with confidence.  Lew continues to serve as District 16 Executive Treasurer to this date.

Lew was a member of the committee responsible for the 2009 Houston NABC.  His role was to organize the fund-raising activities for the tournament.  The Unit achieved its financial goals despite the lack of a major sponsoring underwriter.

In addition to being president of Houston Unit 174, Lew served as president of two other ACBL units,  Honolulu, Hawaii and Bellingham, Washington.

2011 - Larry Davis - Unit 207

Scott Humphrey and Tom Corlett

Larry Davis, Unit 207, receives the Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award from Scott Humphrey, Chairman of the Awards Committee

The unit 207 board has reached a consensus that Larry Davis would be an outstanding candidate for the Oswald Jacoby award. He has tirelessly worked for unit 207 and the district for many years. He has chaired or co-chaired every regional since 1996 and chaired or co-chaired numerous sectional and limited point sectional events. He has served on the unit board, been a tournament coordinator, served as nomination committee member, been the NAP coordinator, been the editor for our news paper, etc.

Larry has been our go to guy when we have to move supplies to tournament sites and has negotiated marvelous contracts for tournaments which has saved many thousands of dollars for the unit.

He started our 0 to 100 tournaments, started a new senior citizen game in South Austin and is currently trying to start a non life regional in Austin. He started a liaison program for our outlying clubs and this may be a reason for some of our unit growth.

Larry's district activities include:

  • Was Unit 207's district representative for years.
  • Served as president and made considerable effort to writing thoughtful letters for each issue of the Scorecard giving ideas/suggestions to the units based on his considerable unit-level experience.
  • Worked with the District Treasurer and The Scorecard Chairman to resolve Scorecard finances and accounting issues.
  • Met with representatives of the "small units"to hear and attempt to resolve their cares.
  • Appointed GNT, Publicity, and Conduct/Ethics Committee Chairmen. He also served as District 16 Vice President, briefly on scorecard Committee and again as our representative for many years. Larry has worked tirelessly for the growth and betterment of bridge.

2010 - Tom Corlett - Unit 233

Scott Humphrey and Tom Corlett

Tom Corlett, Unit 233, receives the Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award from Scott Humphrey, Chairman of the Awards Committee

Unit 233 has selected Mr. Thomas (Tom) Corlett as our nominee for the District 16 Jacoby Award. During any given week Tom is actively teaching bridge lessons for 30 minutes before regularly scheduled club games, playing in every available club game (often with novice players who love the chance to play with him), playing in every possible sectional and regional tournament in Texas and beyond, and attending almost every NABC.

At every tournament associated with District 16 Tom can be seen encouraging novice players as well as others and eagerly introducing newer bridge friends to perennial tournament attendees. He is such an ambassador for the sense of camaraderie that extends among fellow bridge players whether at the club, unit, district, or national level. He is the “go to” person for answers to questions about bridge strategy, bridge etiquette, bridge conventions, and bridge statistics. He is such a “pied piper” for this game.

Tom served a three-year term on the Unit Board of Directors from 1992-1995 serving as vice-president his first year and as president for one year. He was elected as Unit representative to the District Board of Directors for a three year term in 1997 and re-elected for two more three year terms. During this period he faithfully shared reports of meetings with the Unit Board of Directors.

He co-chaired the Waco sectional tournaments in 1999, 2004, 2005, and 2006 with exemplary results.

In 2000, Tom was one of three District 16 representatives elected to the ACBL Board of Directors and has been re-elected continuously up to the present. As a member of the District 16 Board of Directors, he served as vice-president in 2003 and president in 2004. In October 2000 he was awarded lifetime membership on the ACBL National Goodwill Committee. In 2009 he was unanimously awarded the Texas Star Award for Central Texas Bridge Unit 233.

Tom Corlett represents all that the District 16 Jacoby Award stands for in offering service, support, expertise, and love of the game from the smallest unit game to the largest tournament in District 16 and beyond.

2009 - Bert Onstott - Unit 174

Scott Humphry and Bert Onstott

Bert Onstott, Unit 174, receives the Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award from Scott Humphrey, Chairman of the Awards Committee

Unit 174 is proud to present Bert as a candidate for the Oswald and Jim Jacoby Award. Bert's passion for bridge is proven by his never ending work for both our unit and the district. He has done more for bridge in unit 174 in six years than most of us do in a lifetime. Below, we have listed only a few of the many things Bert has volunteered for, supported, and helped with:

  1. In support of Unit 174, Bert served six years on our board, including two terms as President. While on the board,
    1. He chaired 12 sectionals and two regionals.
    2. When he wasn't chairing the tournaments, he was there early to set up tables and stayed late after the tournament to tear down the tables and crate supplies. That is approximately 30 tournaments, plus additional help with NAP and GNT.
    3. Bert set up online group email for intra-board communication as well as online file storage for board record keeping. This will enable future boards to archive all past records.
    4. Bert created a spreadsheet template for tournament planning and profit and loss accounting.
    5. Bert developed a web based, data-base driven online partnership desk for unit members. This has proved to be very helpful for players in our unit to find partners any day of the week, or for people visiting our unit from out of town.
    6. Bert served as unit photographer.
    7. Bert was coordinator for bridge in schools, and taught bridge to junior high and high school students.
    8. Bert was instrumental in initiating a program that attracts social bridge players to duplicate. Two such events have been held, and both were very successful. The first one had 21 tables, and the second one had 16 tables. New players signed up with the ACBL, and all participants had a good time.
  2. In support of District 16,
    1. Bert has served as the district webmaster. In the first two months of the job, he revamped and updated the district web site.
    2. He created a program to automate the process of removing the names of those who opt out of receiving a paper copy of the Scorecard.


2008 - Ira Hessel - Unit 172

Ira Hessel Ira Hessel, Unit 172, receives the Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award from Eric Snow, D16 President and Chairman of the Awards Committee

I don‘t know how many people have asked me, “What is that?” when I've said that so and so won the Jacoby award. Well, it‘s the highest honor that district 16 awards to an individual each year for outstanding service. This year it was awarded to a most deserving individual, Dr. Ira Hessel of San Antonio.

Ira has been an active volunteer of the bridge community for twenty some odd years. His many achievements include: Unit 172 board member, editor of “The Winning Finesse” (unit newsletter), starting the University of Texas at San Antonio collegiate bridge club and generously giving his time to write and publish the fourth of July regional daily bulletins.

He served on the scorecard committee for eighteen years until he resigned last year so he and Ellen could take on the enormous job of editing the Scorecard!

He serves as unit 172 district representative and participates in all unit and district events and is a most frequent winner with Ellen, his favorite partner in crime and life. Ira lends his support in all district NABC fund raising events, notably in chairing the George and Carole Dawkins memorial silent auction.

The committee is very proud to award the 2008 Oswald and Jim Jacoby award to Dr. Ira Hessel.

Toni Snow

2007 - Dewitt Hudson - Unit 183

Dewitt Hudson Dewitt Hudson, Unit 183, receives the Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award from Eric Snow, D16 President and Chairman of the Awards Committee

There is no one more deserving of this award than Dewitt. Dewitt H. Hudson, Jr., is a retired Colonel with more than 23 years in the United States Army. He is a Silver Life Master and has been actively involved in contract duplicate bridge since 1970. Col. Hudson is a dedicated teacher who is always willing to help anyone. From his beginner's classes he has introduced many newcomers into the duplicate bridge environment. He sponsored his entire class for their first tournament last spring. Always, he is willing to spend extra time with the learning process. Dewitt has mentored many novice players, among whom are - Travis and Lidy King, Bob Kennemer, Nedra Sims, Junene Johnson, Virginia Reinier, and countless others. Dewitt has given many unpaid hours of encouragement and invaluable information to almost everyone in District 16. He has also been instrumental in organization of new groups within the District.

Since becoming President of District 16, Dewitt has attended 28 tournaments in our District. This is quite a big job and deserves a great deal of praise. At the beginning of his tour as President, District 16 was 21 out of 25 for Membership and Retention. Presently, District 16 ranks as 4th out of 25 for Membership and Retention, with the goal of being ranked #1 a deinite possibility for the near future. Dewitt's influence has been widespread, as is reflected by the increased interest toward ACBL membership, especially programs increasing membership in the youth, and also the senior group.

There is no one more dedicated to the enrichment of ACBL and our district than Dewitt Hudson. The following highlights some of the more outstanding work that he has been accomplishing behind the scenes:

  1. Instructor at University of Texas at Arlington - Continuing Education Program
    1. Teaching Basic Bridge classes in the evening for several years, and encouraging his students to join ACBL.
    2. Teaching an Advanced Class in the morning
  2. Board of Governors - Member of National Board of Governors for over 7 years. Submits articles in Scorecard to inform the membership of activity or actions of Board of Governors.
  3. As a member of ACBL Educational Foundation assisted with providing funds for Stephenville, TX, Bridge (Laura Nash) to purchase supplies for her new bridge group. Also, was instrumental in assisting with Bryan and College Station (Barbara Nance) receiving funds to help with youth programs.
  4. President District 16 for 2005 and re-elected President for a second term 2006.
    1. During his tenure as President, Dewitt has presented certificates to 8 Mayors and 2 Mayor Pro Tem (Temple, Midland, Abilene, Waco, Humble, Richardson, Grapevine and Fort Worth). Expressions of appreciation to the bridge group and Dewitt for their contribution to the community were heard everywhere.
    2. Letter of Appreciation to tournament chairperson and president of various units in the District.
    3. Expresses concern for all members with a problem in District - "Words From the President."
    4. Visited 26 units, sectionals, and Regionals in District 16, plus 2 Nationals.
    5. Largest Tournament in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) in years.
    6. Worked with Staff to have all units represented for the 17 Texas Star Awards.
  5. Participates in Unit 183 Fort Worth games several days a week and is a regular attendee at the Saturday night games. The Fort Worth Bridge Studio is greatly benefited because of the tireless efforts of Dewitt.
  6. As a mentor, he is superlative, always going above and beyond the norm to encourage and teach novice players, and he is also very patient with slow learners, always encouraging them.
  7. Programs to beneit the youth have been a priority for Dewitt Hudson. He has actively encouraged youth participation by organizing beginner's classes on various college campus, as well as high school. Seniors have also been recipients of his efforts to improve and encourage participation in ACBL activities.
  8. Dewitt personally assisted in coordinating with District 7 for STAG charity games to support bridge players in Orange and Beaumont. He also set up a special fund that accepted donations, raising $3700.00 to support the Beaumont and Orange facilities that were damaged by Hurricane Rita.

In 2000, Dewitt was appointed by District 16 to be Lifetime Goodwill Member. As a member of Goodwill committee he has attended all meetings and wears his pin at all sectional, regional and national events. No one in District 16 is more qualified or more deserving of the Jacoby Award than Dewitt Hudson. I am a member of ACBL and attend regularly at Unit 183 Fort Worth Bridge Studio. Thank you for your consideration of this nomination of Dewitt Hudson.

2006 - Rosemary Kelley - Unit 207

Rosemary KelleyRosemary Kelley, Unit 207, receives the Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award from Eric Snow, D16 Vice President and Chairman of the Awards Committee

Rosemary Kelley has been a vital part of the bridge community for many years, both at district and local levels. She first served District 16 as GNT Chairman in the early nineties. During her six-year tenure she was instrumental in revamping the GNT program by creating new conditions of contest and making it profitable. She continued her involvement in the district for many years with unparalleled hard work and dedication, serving as Treasurer, Vice-President, and eventually President. Just one important contribution she made included the creation of the District Executive Treasurer office.

Rosemary's energy and impressive level of commitment are also evidenced at the local level. In addition to serving on the Boards of San Antonio Unit 172 and Austin Unit 207, she co-chaired Regionals in 1995 and 1996. Rosemary played a key role in restoring fiscal balance during a critical part of Unit 207's history. Her many contributions include creation of the club's tax-exempt status.

This past year, Rosemary rallied a group of dedicated and generous bridge players to establish Austin's own Bridge Center. With a home of its own, Austin Bridge is now enjoying impressive growth. An essential element of that growth is due to the teaching program Rosemary has instituted, along with a set of Bridge Plus games. She is a popular teacher who welcomes new players with a warmth and interest that ensures their return.

2005 - Toni Snow - Unit 174

Toni SnowEric Snow, Second Vice President of District 16, presents the 2005 District 16 Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award to his wife, Toni Snow, at the Dallas Regional.

Since moving to Houston from Midland/Odessa in the mid-1980's, Toni Snow has actively volunteered her time and energy culminating with co-chairing the Houston 2002 NABC. She has been especially active in encouraging and teaching new players and is a frequent volunteer lecturer and mentor. Her humor and vitality make bridge fun and encourage new players to have a good time and come back again.

Toni has served on the Houston Unit board as both a member and as an officer. She has chaired and co-chaired several tournaments and often helps out with hospitality, new player services, etc. At the District level, she has been chairman of the Scorecard committee for many years.

In addition to being general associate chairman of the 2002 NABC, Toni chaired the Entertainment committee and was responsible for selecting and negotiating the menu for each night's after game snacks as well as the pre-game food for the Senior events. She planned and contracted the nightly entertainment and even wrote the murder mystery skit that was presented on Friday night. Now she has volunteered to help chair the upcoming 2009 NABC.

2004 - Betty Starzec - Unit 174

Toni Snow

Betty Starzec, of Houston, was presented the 2004 Oswald & Jim Jacoby Service Award at the Dallas Labor Day Regional in Richardson. Betty was the District's Education Liaison and Membership Chair for many years, meeting with and coordinating the efforts of Unit Membership Liaisons to improve ways of working with and mainstreaming new players. Although Betty was an ACBL employee and eligible to receive salary, she presented numerous Teacher Education Programs in both Houston and San Antonio at cost.