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Mark Blumenthal

On Saturday September 3rd 2016 Laura Blumenthal reached out to and expressed an interest to hear from the community about her father after his passing on September 2nd 2016.

I just wanted to let people in the bridge community know that my father, Mark Blumenthal, passed away yesterday morning at the age of 74. Because of a stroke following a heart operation in 1977, he hadn’t seriously played bridge in many years, but I grew up hearing stories about bridge and the people who played it. I believe that he used to blog on this site and am sure that there are many people in the bridge community that know him, so I thought this might be the best way to inform people of his passing. His health got much worse in 2009 and he wasn’t able to get on the internet anymore, but I know that he very much enjoyed blogging here and being back in touch with old friends via the Internet. If anyone has any memories of him that they would like to share, I would be happy to hear from people. My email address is
Thank you,
Laura Blumenthal

If you would like to contact her directly, please feel free at her email You can also read his previous blog posts here at:

Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Mark Blumenthal.


Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 9th, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Hi Laura:

I am a very old friend of your dad ever since he journeyed down to Philadelphia. My late husband (Norman Kay) and I saw a lot off him when he resided there. In fact, even as a youth, he was recognized for his innate talent. He was kind enough to play with me in duplicates and I learned a lot from him. When he moved, I lost track of him.

After Norman passed on, I remarried Bobby Wolff (a former Dallas Ace like your dad). We had moved from Texas to Las Vegas and fate brought us together again as internet buddies.

Bobby had just written The Lone Wolff published by my friends at Master Point Press. The next thing I knew I became a blogger and spotted your dad's name among all the celebrated contributors .. and then we reconnected but lost touch when he became ill and faded off the site.

I share your sad feelings as I, too, will miss him and a lot of delightfully funny memories. He was a credit to the bridge world!

Sincere condolences,


Bobby WolffSeptember 9th, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Hi Laura,

Yes, I feel more than a tinge of sorrow from your notifying the bridge world about the death of your father.

My contacts with him were basically restricted to playing on two Bermuda Bowl teams in the years, 1973 (Guaruja, Brazil) and 1974 (Venice, Italy) while representing the USA in which we lost in both finals to the Italian Blue Team, one time close (Venice) and the other time a rout Guaruja).

His partner was Bobby Goldman in both events, the first one , 1973, the last official outing of the Aces, and the second one where Bob Hamman and I, Eric Murray and Sami Kehela, and they, formed our team.

He always acquitted himself well as both a top player and an extremely ethical player. In truth, those two years we really never had a chance to win, but that truism didn’t keep me, from enjoying Mark’s bridge enthusiasm, talent and companionship.

Judy (my wife) and I send our heartfelt sympathy to you and your loved ones for your very sad loss. Thanks for your post and God speed with your future life and happiness.


Bobby Wolff

Karen AllisonSeptember 12th, 2016 at 5:32 am

I’m sorry to hear of your father’s death. The sad news brought back the many times when I, Paul Heitner, Paul Trent and other very fast players including Mark would play in the November tournament in Lancaster. Why this was important was that in the room there was a pinball machine – only ONE and the contest was to see who could finish the hand first and beat the others to the pinball game.
Mark was definitely one of the good guys.

Tom AllanSeptember 12th, 2016 at 10:33 pm

Laura. Your parents were special friends of mine for many years. Mark was my first bridge mentor. I got to know only because I had known his first wife in college. For a few years, I got to travel some with him and occasionally got to play with him what a treat. I would sometimes spend weekends at his place in KC.

I met your mother early in her relationship with Mark what a delightful woman smart and with such a quick sense of humor. She did so much for Mark. Once they moved to Chicago where u were born and lived in that Apt near the lake and not far from Wrigly stadium. I would visit them as I frequently traveled there on business.

After the heart surgery, your mother performed miracles getting a law degree and a good job in a bank. She finished at the top of her law class while still working at a bank. I asked her how she did it and she simply said There was no other Choice.

I think my business travel to Chicago ended before u and ur brother were born so I never got to meet the two of u.

I think that the two of u gave him a real reason to live after losing his career. Peace be with u and your family.

Sandy GreenSeptember 13th, 2016 at 11:42 pm

I did not know Mark from Bridge. I knew him in his later years playing fantasy baseball. A very smart and honorable man.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 14th, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Hi Sandy,

I found your reference to Fantasy Baseball very Mark-like. He loved games and competition and was especially wonderful with word quizzes. I would always like to be on his team (bridge or otherwise)!

Laura BlumenthalSeptember 14th, 2016 at 11:34 pm

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and memories of my dad. He always talked a lot about his bridge playing days. I think that in some ways, though he loved me and my brother, he felt that his life ended when he had the stroke and his bridge career ended. It means a lot to me to hear from people who knew him during that time and remembered how he was before the heart surgery and stroke. I know that he was very happy to reconnect with you, Judy, and greatly enjoyed your conversations here. Thank you so much for sharing your memories too, Bobby – I have definitely heard about the Aces and the tournaments in Brazil and Italy. I’m not sure that I ever knew that you guys hadn’t won, though. My dad probably didn’t emphasize that aspect! Tom – it’s really nice to hear your memories of both of my parents here and on the bridge winners site, which I just found as well. I sent the link to that site on to my mom, and I know she will appreciate what you had to say. They separated about 15 years ago, but remained close even after he moved here to Portland Oregon to be close to me and my brother, Erik, and she moved from Chicago up to Wisconsin. Karen, I knew that my father was into all kinds of card, word, and board games, but I never knew that he liked pinball! Thank you for sharing that story. Finally, Sandy, it is good to hear that you enjoyed playing fantasy baseball with my dad. Organizing those fantasy baseball leagues and running his teams was a highlight of his life post-bridge. It was very involved in the days before the internet and took an incredible amount of time and effort to track all the stats and keep track of how all the fantasy teams were doing. I think it’s a much less complicated pastime today.
Again, I can’t say how much it means to me that the five of you have commented. Thank you

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 15th, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Thank YOU, Laura, for your recognition of our memories of your dad. It was very touching for you to reach out to all of his friends and fans. I am sure he is smiling from above. You know … very little escaped him!!

Walt WalvickSeptember 15th, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Your dad and I learned how to play bridge back in the early sixties when we were roommates at Penn. Oh what memories in pursuit of those early master points – success first at the Thursday night game at Penn, then at the clubs around Philadelphia, and finally on the tournament trail. Almost from the beginning Mark deservedly was ticketed for stardom by Bobby Goldman and other Philadelphia luminaries. Indeed, tournament success came quickly and he cemented his career as an ethical bridge professional when he was added to the Dallas Aces in 1973.

Always lurking in the background, however, was a congenital heart defect that eventually would require surgery. That day came following the 1977 Summer Nationals in Chicago when Mark suffered a debilitating stroke during the surgery. It took some time, but I finally convinced Mark that he had to at least give competitive bridge a try. So in February of 1978, we played in a two session Open Pairs at the Central States Regional in Chicago. The first session was almost like old times – Mark was sharp and we led the field with a 230 or so score. That was a wow moment for his wife Kate, Kathie (who were both kibitzing), and me. In the evening session, however, Mark slipped a little – missing some things that he never would have missed six months earlier. It soon became clear that being 98% of what he had been was not nearly good enough for Mark and so ended bridge at the highest levels for him.

In the years that followed, we spoke less and less frequently and managed to play only two or three side games. I can only imagine how difficult it was for him. We reconnected when Mark started blogging, especially when he reminisced about the shared misadventures from the youth of a certain Giant Crab (a/k/a me). Your dad was my close friend for many years and I miss him.

Ben L.September 17th, 2016 at 8:59 am

Hi Laura,
While your dad was in our care, he once or twice told me about the tournaments in Brazil and Italy, I guess the rest of the story is that later it came to light that the Italian team was cheating, something one of his friends or former partners alluded to in a comment on this or another site.
I now wish I knew he blogged about bridge, it would’ve given me a chance to know more about his impressive bridge career and it would have given us even more things to talk about.

On a happier note, congratulations on the birth of your son, what a wonderful and amazing gift to your dad before he passed on!
I can’t even remember how many times, as he would enjoy his interactions with our kids he expressed to us his hope and desire to to become a grandfather.
We’d love to see you and your baby. If you have time, please stop by.

richard baumJanuary 4th, 2017 at 10:35 pm

I knew your father well and played with him from time to time. Indeed I was his partner when he won a regional event in the Pittsburgh nationals of 2004. He was a wonderful player but had slowed markedly at that time.

He was also terrific at word games and trivia. He would play categories at tournaments and play against everyone else and usually beat everyone. I remember his favorite category as ball less athletes(that is players of sports with no balls) He didn’t find it amusing when I tried to use a female golfer

He was a good guy and I have missed him

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