Club member news

Club member Paco, heads for the island life

Paco Bonilla

Paco (left) and Ed (right), on Paco’s last day at the SCTTC.

Long-time SCTTC member, Paco Bonilla, is trading in the Santa Cruz life for life in Hawaii. We will miss him and his crazy serves, but wish him well and enjoyment of the island life. Thanks to those who brought in cake and cookies!

Letter read at service for Willie

Thank you to David Rudesill for allowing us to post this here. I think it represents what a lot of thought of Willie’s generosity.

Dear friends,

I regret not being here in person, but it’s very important to me to share how much Willy has meant over the course of my life.

I walked into the Santa Cruz table tennis club as an adolescent, 13 or 14 years years old. I was greeted by men with smiling faces and encouragement to play this sport that ties our lives together. I’ve always know Richard as “Willy” and along with Jim Langley, Jon Pierre, Stephan Pollard, and many others, I was welcomed into what has become a second family for me.

Willy sits at the center table of this ping pong family of ours. I see his big smile, that grin of encouragement. He was a man that lived with a sparkle in his eye and he was always only encouraging of me and my brother as we progressed over the years. Willy never said a word of discouragement to anyone. He was an ambassador to the Santa Cruz Table Tennis Club and a man of supreme integrity and character. Willy always encouraged me to improve, and back in the day always stood just beyond the barrier rooting me on to beat Hans, or Jim, or Charlie, or Chris, or Peter…a list of amazing men that I cannot entirely name right now. But Willy was steadfast in his support of my brother and I, clapping and cheering when we did well, offering some helpful advice if I lost in the 5th.

There are people in this life that are not blood related, but in time become like family. Willy is such a man to me, and I will forever hold him in the inner sanctum of my heart as a fatherly man who ushered me through adolescence and then my twenties with smiles, laughs, fun, and unwavering integrity.

When I think of Willy I think of how he played table tennis; his back hand serve, his pendulum serve…Willy played table tennis like lightning waiting to strike, and when he went all in he threw the entirety of himself into a backhand punch or Forehand slam that was like getting hit by Mike Tyson. When he went for the kill the ball did not come back.

Willy loved the game of table tennis, it’s what brought us together in life, the thread that connects our lives. Somewhere along the way I loved him like an uncle or godfather and I can picture his radiant, caring smile right now, and I will Willy’s smile and love for life with me for the remainder of my own.

I’m very sad he’s left us, it’s very emotional to write these words and I’m glad that he’s surrounded by his table tennis brothers and sisters that loved him so much.

With love, David Rudesill

Club president, Richard “Willie” Williams, has died

Willie at a ping pong table

PLAYERS – After a long illness, our amazing club president of 26 years, Richard “Willie” Williams passed away the day before Christmas. He will be missed by all. Below are the details on the services planned in his honor both to take place January 3 & 4. It is likely that the club will be closed on Thursday evening (I will post an update if this changes).

Read the obituary.

There are two services for Willie next week as follows:

Willie’s “wake,” or “viewing”

Come say goodbye to Willie and stand up and speak to share our memories of Willie.

Thursday, January 3 from 6 – 7 p.m.

Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel
1050 Cayuga St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Funeral and reception

Friday, January 4 at 11 a.m. with lunch at the church after the funeral

Resurrection Church
7600 Soquel Dr.
Aptos, CA 95003

Willie’s family is asking that, if you are so inclined, donations be made


Cabrillo Civics Clubs of California (for scholarships)
c/o Rachel Tatro, Scholarship Chair
2970 Brookstone Way
Sacramento, CA 96833


CPDES Hall (Portuguese Hall)
216 Evergreen Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

And a personal note… Willie was one of the first people most people met when they went to the club, and I was no exception. Though I had the basics of the game down when I arrived, Willie spent a good number of hours teaching me to how to really play. In later years, he may not have been quite as fast, but he was still skilled and could still offer useful advice. He was generous with his time, and was kind to anyone who walked in the door. I know I am not the only one who will miss his presence. My condolences to his family.

Happy 75th to Willie!

Willie's 75th birthday group of table tennis players

Willie’s 75th

Long-time club president Richard Williams, AKA Willie, turned 75 this week. A great party with club friends and food! Thanks to everyone who brought munchies and celebrated with us!

Long-time club member Lewis Weinstein has died

Thank you Harvey for sending this info.

April 29, 1934-January 17, 2018

Lew was one of the earliest members of our club, joining shortly after it opened.

His friendly demeanor, and his constant smile made him a favorite to challenge. All challengers were comfortable on the table when playing against Lew. He improved his game through the years and added to it, incorporating a vicious spin return before he retired a few years ago with a shoulder injury. All who were fortunate enough to know him, will miss him.

There will be a memorial service tomorrow, Friday, January 19 at 3PM, at Beit Olam Jewish cemetery at 550 Old San Jose Road (Soquel). If you turn off of Soquel and head toward Soquel High School, which is on your left, you’ll see the Beit Olam – Eternal Home – Cemetery on your right.

Lewis will be buried in the Jewish Section, so go through the Jewish Gate, and it’s the section closest to the office building

If the weather is bad, a tent will be set up, and there will be chairs.

Steven Alfred is now the highest-rated SCTTC player ever at 2307!

StevenPlayers, next time you come to the club, be sure to congratulate Steven Alfred who last week won the Over 40 years-of-age tournament in Fremont taking out the amazing Avi Schmidt in the process 12-10 in the fifth in the semis and then double-winged power looper Kevin Au in the final. This earned Steven $200 for first place and a new rating of 2307, the highest rating of any regular player at our club going back to our founding in 1991. Wow.

With Mickey Boyle’s Nationals Title last year and Charlie Aebersold’s highest rating of 2152, our little old club just keeps getting better and better! In case you aren’t familiar with USA Table Tennis ratings, the lowest is 0 points and the highest rated players in the country are about 2700 to 2800. Coach Jim reached a highest rating of 1825. Mickey is closing in on that. Most USA players dream of breaking the 2000 barrier, but it takes a lot of practice and focus and playing tournaments (you win and lose points based on wins and losses in tournaments).

Here’s a short report from the Alameda tournament, Over 40 – On the opposite side of the age bracket events, we gave the adults a respite from the juniors in Over 40. Despite a few Warriors-inspired defaults (oops, sorry, they were all just tired after the morning events) the die-hard players who stuck around created plenty of their own entertainment. Steven Alfred, who came all the way up from Santa Cruz TTC for the tournament, played the longest match of the day against former Alameda coach Avishy Schmidt in the semifinals. Really, people were wondering just how many matches they were playing, but in the end they assured us that they only played one, with Alfred ultimately emerging as the winner, winning 12-10 in the fifth set. The other semifinal was much quicker, with Topspin’s Kevin Au overcoming Alameda’s Kock Loe in three close sets. Ultimately, Alfred’s patience was richly rewarding, as he beat Kevin in the final to claim the $200 prize. Kevin’s $100 check consoled him as well and we still got them home in time to catch the last half of the Warriors game.”

Way to go Steven! Thanks for bringing home the gold for the club!