2012 Texas Star Awards

Jeri Tribo - Unit 172, San Antonio

Jeri Tribo

Unit 172 is proud to recognize Jeri Tribo as its 2012 Texas Star Award Winner. Jeri was the Tournament Chair for the 2011 Fourth of July Regional. Her exceptional planning and organizational skills, her recruitment and leadership of a strong tournament committee, and her strong work ethic resulted in the most successful regional ever. Jeri also stepped forward to assume another major responsibility, the Mentor- Mentee Program. Under her guidance, participation in the program expanded significantly, and participation in the culminating Mentor- Mentee Championship doubled over prior years. Jeri is now in her second term on the Board of Directors and frequently serves as a co-host for Unit Game parties, earning a well deserved reputation for terrific hospitality.

Unit 172 says - Thanks, Jeri, for all your great work!


Bert Onstott - Unit 174, Houston

Bert Onstott

Bert Onstott, a retired Chemical Engineer from Shell, has made a major contribution to Houston bridge. He served 6 years on the Unit 174 board with 2 years as President. During those years and since, he has served in almost every conceivable capacity in Unit 174 and District 16. Bert‘s greatest contribution is the stability and continuity he brought to Houston bridge. He drove the development of procedures for the Board, Tournaments and all activities. Uniform Board communication and central and accessible files for the Board are indispensable for those who come after. The tools Bert developed were so valuable they have been shared throughout ACBL.

Finishing his allowed service on the Board, Bert took over as Webmaster for Unit 174. He implemented an online membership directory, partnership directory, discussion forum and in 2012, online voting for Board members. Success begets more work and he is now District 16 Webmaster as well.

Bert now represents Unit 174 on to the District 16 Board and serves as President in 2012. In spite of all of his duties he finds time to direct club games and be an active volunteer anywhere he is needed in Houston. Everyone in Houston and Texas should be thankful to have Bert in our bridge community.

Bob Butterfield - Unit 176, Dallas

Bob Butterfield

Unit 176 is very pleased to award our 2012 Texas Star award to Bob Butterfield. Bob has just completed his second term on the Dallas Bridge Association Board of Directors and we are very sorry to lose him. He has been such an important part of the growth of our unit and the success of our board‘s goals and objectives. Bob practiced law in Dallas from 1968 to 2005, when he retired and his firm‘s loss became bridge‘s gain. He became a member of the Unit 176 board in 2006, serving as President, Vice-President, and Chairman of the Tournament Committee. He is also a current member of the Board of Directors for District 16, serving as Executive Secretary. He is a regular player in club games as well as tournaments, supporting all the area clubs.

Bob and his lovely wife Julie (who is also a bridge player) don‘t limit their volunteer work to bridge – they work with a number of organizations in Dallas. Fortunately for Unit 176, he will continue to be a part of our volunteer committees even though his term on our Board is over (for now!). Many thanks for your hard work and dedication, Bob. And congratulations on joining the list of very special players who have received the Texas Star.

Carolyn Pinto - Unit 183, Fort Western

Carolyn Pinto

Carolyn is a very strong personality and a force for making the unit work better for all of us. If there is a job that needs to be done, she will do it. She has been Secretary, Vice President, and is currently Treasurer, District 16 Unit Board Representative and unit 183 Tournament Chairperson. Carolyn also directs twice weekly and teaches many bridge classes. Carolyn is watching for ideas and innovations to keep our game interesting and vital. She is a vigilant champion of the underdog. Furthermore, she is on constant alert for opportunities to celebrate events and people who are making contributions to our unit. She has a strong record of finding ways to recruit new members and shepherd them through the ranks. She especially enjoys opening doors for others by offering special games where daytime players, nighttime players, experienced players and less experienced players play together learning to appreciate the game and each other. Carolyn wears many hats and amazes us that she always delivers.

It is our great pleasure to nominate Carolyn.

Mary Ross- Unit 187, South Texas

Mary Ross

Mary Ross has been a member of Unit 187 since the late 1970s. As most players do, she began playing duplicate as a novice with another novice and struggled to learn the game. Mary‘s friend gave up, but Mary persevered and developed many strong partnerships. She is a disciplined player and you can take her bids to the bank. Several years ago, she and Gail Huie won Flight B of the open pairs at at the Dallas regional. That was a great celebration! She is now a gold life master and plays at the club and/or directs 3 times weekly. the Dallas regional. That was a great celebration! She is now a gold life master and plays at the club and/or directs 3 times weekly.

Mary has served the unit in many capacities. She has been on the board numerous times, served as president, and as tournament chair. Mary represented unit 187 at the District meeting for several years and was a diligent worker. She received the prestigious District 16 Oswald & James Jacoby Service award in 2000. For the past several years she has served as the unit award chairperson. She is an active club director generally running the Friday games. Mary has always been generous with her time and tries to help new comers learn the ropes. She has been teaching informally for some time and at the 2011 San Antonio regional she took the teacher certification course.

Every club truly needs players like Mary. Whatever the job to be done, she is always willing to give a helping hand.

Julie Benson - Unit 197, Llano Estacado

Our Texas Star nominee for 2011 is Julie Benson. She lives in Levelland and drives to Lubbock almost every day to play in our Bridge games. She always helps pass out the boards and is always helping with clean up after the games. She helps with the 8 is Enough by always bringing food whether she is asked or not, and she always helps Charlotte with set up and clean up. Julie is one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. She is an excellent cook and is always bringing something good to the Sunday Unit games and to the Saturday afternoon game. She has volunteered to be the contact by internet for the Sunday game and does partnership for that game. She is also on one of the Regional committees and is o dependable. When she yells you she will do something, she does always does it with grace and competence. She plays with anyone who asks her and is very willing to help transition newer players into the regular games. We are proud to nominate her for this award.

Nancy Smalley - Unit 201, Beaumont

Neal Perlman Nancy Smalley, a Gold Life Master, is a valuable contributor to Unit 201 and has served in several capacities. She has been a board member, past Unit president, and has chaired several tournaments at the Sectional and Regional levels. For the past 17 years, she has provided a bridge column for the Beaumont Enterprise Sunday newspaper.

Nancy directs 3 limited games for newer players and starts each session with a half hour lesson. Her novice program has generated a number of lasting duplicate players for the Beaumont Bridge Studio. In addition to playing bridge, Nancy taught English and completed her teaching career at Lamar University.

Nancy has been married to John Smalley for 49 years and they have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

Neal Perlman - Unit 204, San Angelo

Neal Perlman

Neal Perlman quietly makes bridge better in Unit 204. He plays whenever his job allows. He is always courteous, and he plays with new players as often as he does the old-timers. He goes to every tournament he can, meeting people, making friends, and being an excellent ambassador for our unit. He attends district board meetings and keeps us abreast of what needs doing. Yet another quiet task he takes on is staying with the director when night games are over, so no one is left to face the dark alone.

This year he has taken the responsibility of writing our column in the Scorecard. He keeps up with all of our events and he is creative with interesting stories if there is no extraordinary news.

Neal grew up playing bridge; his mother was a director and owned a bridge studio, which met in their home. He has been studying and playing ever since. It is about time to recognize his devotion to bridge with a Texas Star award.

Bill Heim - Unit 205, Amistad

Bill Heim Bill Heim retired from the military in 1990. He joined the Marines because his mother wanted him to cut his hair. After two tours of duty in Vietnam, he was discharged only to join the Air Force a year later. He completed his bachelor’s degree while in the Air Force and his master’s degree after retirement. Bill and his wife Patty returned to Louisville, Kentucky after her retirement from the military in 1996. After 18 months, Bill, Pat and Bill’s mom moved to Chapala Mexico. Since that time, Bill has become a figurehead in lakeside bridge. He is a bronze Life Master. Additionally, he is the Unit Webmaster, a director, and serves on the Lake Chapala Duplicate Bridge Board of Directors as the Director of Games which entails all of the scheduling for the club. His service is invaluable. If you ever happen to be at one of our games, and you hear “Sir” or “M’am,” it is not necessary to salute; it’s just Bill.

Mary Anne Laier - Unit 207, Austin

Mary Anne Laier

Mary Anne Laier was nominated by Unit 207 for the Texas Star Award presented at the Houston Regional. She has been an active member of Unit 207 since her arrival in Austin in 2000. She has served two terms as Unit president , has co-chaired the last three Austin Regionals and will co-chair the 2012 regional. She has directed the weekly Buda and San Marcos games since their inception. She has traveled to much of the world as a Bridge director and teacher for the Seabourne and Oceania cruise lines. In addition to being a director, she teaches bridge to small groups as well as individuals.

Mary Anne has achieved the rank of Gold Life Master and is a member of the National Goodwill Committee of ACBL. She is a valuable asset for Austin bridge.


Belle Harris - Unit 209, Greater Permian Basin Belle Harris

Belle Harris truly loves the game of Bridge.  She not only teaches the basics of the game to her students, she also conveys a true love of the game to them.

Belle has organized Thursday evenings at the Bridge studio as “novice night” and   finds partners for novices .  She   gets life masters to play with and help the beginning students.   The LMs have found this gives them a chance, not only to teach, but to learn as well with the added benefit of meeting new people. She shows by example how to bid and play the hand and make her bid or to set her opponent, of which no opponent is excluded. Once, when I asked Belle how many students she had brought to the game of Bridge she answered, “Not as many as I wanted.”

Belle organized a Bridge game on a cruise ship during a sea day and ended up with six tables of players enjoying an afternoon of Duplicate.  Whether it is a Thursday evening in Midland, Texas, an afternoon on a cruise ship in the Indian Ocean or a small shop in the middle-east Belle brings her wonderful energy and positive attitude to promote Bridge everywhere.

Belle has been on the Board of Directors of the Permian Bridge Club, Inc. for several years and was elected President for the year 2011/2012. Her positive effects can be seen and heard in the club, the games and the attitudes of the players she has brought to us. 

Belle is also the treasurer for ACBL Unit 209

Sue and Robert Patton - Unit 224, Fort Phantom

Sue and Robert Patton

Every player in Unit 224 appreciates the competitiveness, the dedication and the good humor that Sue and Robert Patton bring to the game of bridge in Abilene. Both have worked hard and Unit 224 has achieved a new level of service to local players.

Robert is a graduate of the University of Texas. A member of the State Bar of Texas, Robert has made a career in oil exploration rather than in the law. Sue is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has an arts background. Their son Brent lives in Florida.

As a life-long baseball fan, Robert discovered while in school that he had little talent for playing the game. So about 25 years ago he took up duplicate bridge. He serves on the Unit‘s Board of Directors. Sue adopted the game much late . Both are particularly generous about participating in unit events that encourage new players.

The Pattons were the driving force behind unit 224‘s decision to acquire an electronic scoring system and a dealer for the Mabel Lilius Bridge Center. They led the fundraising and Robert mastered its use and has taken responsibility for each game.

Robert has assumed the mantle of the late Howard Wilkins in chairing two Abilene Harvest sectionals and the upcoming 2013 regional. His planning and coordination combined with Sue‘s culinary and artistic contributions have made the Abilene tournaments some of the most popular with area players.

The Pattons continue to make important contributions to the maintenance and growth of the game.

Unit 224 is proud to select Sue and Robert Patton to receive the 2012 Texas Star Award.

Shirley Shelton - Unit 225, East Texas

Shirley Shelton

efit of meeting new people Shirley learned to play bridge in order to share a passion that her father, the late Jack Williams. She has served as Co-Chairman of the Tyler Tournament of Roses Sectional twice and has been a member of the Unit 225 Board of Directors for two different tenures. Currently, she serves as Publicity Chairman, and is the columnist for the District 16 Scorecard for Unit 225. Additionally, Shirley was Publicity Chairman for Unit 225's first ever Tournament of Stars Regional in November 2010. She will be the Co-Chairman for the upcoming Longview Piney Woods Sectional, to be held in March 2011.

Shirley serves as Assistant Club Manager for the Longview Duplicate Bridge Club. She paved the way for the Longview club to increase its attendance by over 300% in the past 2 years by going into the social bridge clubs of Longview and offering free lessons to the players. Her volunteer efforts have brought over 25 new members into the club, She also is a classroom assistant and substitute teacher for the bridge lessons offered at the LDBC.

A longtime volunteer for the Longview Meals on Wheels Ministry, Shirley's humanitarian efforts extend far and wide, but most recently hit very close to home. Shirley's younger brother, Andy, was diagnosed with leukemia, and was a perfect match for a stem cell transplant. Shirley was not only a donor, but a sister who spent many days and nights at her brother's side throughout his traumatic ordeal. Currently, Andy is cancer-free.

We are pleased not only to offer our nomination, but our highest recommendation for Shirley Shelton, one of Unit 225's major assets!

Melody Euler - Unit 233, Central Texas

Melody Euler

Melody is the wife of Bill Euler, golf pro at Wildflower Country Club, and they have three children. Melody became seriously interested in duplicate bridge about 12 years ago and joined ACBL and the 0-299 Duplicate Club. She skyrocketed to the rank of Silver Life Master and has become a certified director. She is an assistant to the Rolling Hills BC manager/owner and directs many of the weekly games. She also directs the games at the Temple Duplicate Bridge Club, including the recent Eight is Enough Swiss teams. She is willing to fill in as a director at any of our bridge clubs when needed.

She is friendly and helpful in her relationship with other bridge players, and they look forward to her scoring the club games because of her speed and efficiency.

Early on, she began teaching private bridge lessons and was exceptionally effective in organizing classes for a two-week bridge camp in June 2009 for 50 middle and high school students in Temple and surrounding areas, working in coordination with Temple ISD‘s cooperative program.

She was elected to the board of directors for a three-year term in 2000. During her term, she was elected president in 2000 and again in 2002. She has chaired three Temple sectionals and co-chaired one, all with excellent results. She has agreed to chair the Temple sectional Feb. 24- 26, 2012, as well. She has been appointed by the District as NAP chairman and has brought about increased participation district-wide.

Melody actively supports bridge at the club, district, and National level; and she is most deserving of the Texas Star Service Award for 2011.

Jackie Burroughs - Unit 237, Magic Valley

Jackie Burroughs

We would like to nominate Jackie Burroughs for the Texas Star Award. Jackie has been very active in unit 237 and has been a great ambassador for the bridge community. She has been a board member for two years and has chaired the last two unit sectionals in McAllen. Both were well attended successful events with wonderful hospitality. Prior to that time she co-chaired, and then chaired the Upper Valley Duplicate Bridge Club March sectional in McAllen.

She is always willing to step forward to volunteer her services and to do whatever is asked to promote bridge in our valley community. She is quick to credit those who have helped her to achieve her success in these events and activities. In short, she has contributed much to making the Rio Grande Valley a great place to play bridge.

Jackie, and her husband Stafford, reside in McAllen, TX, where they have lived and she has played bridge, since moving from West Virginia several years ago.


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