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The death of Michael "Mike" Betts occurred at home on Sunday May 19th, 2013 surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Fredericton, NB the son of Elmer and Aline Betts.
Survived by his daughter, Valerie Betts of Moncton, NB; Anthony Betts (Laura) of Fredericton, NB; their mother, Mary Betts; one grandchild, Maximus Betts; three brothers, John (Cheryl) of Edmonton AB, Dennis (Susan) of Calgary and Patrick of Edmonton, AB as well as several nieces and nephews.
Among many other things, Mike will be remembered for his contribution to the local and national bridge community, an avid golfer, and as a loving father, brother and grampy.
There will be no visitation by request. A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 24th, 2013 at 2:00 pm in the J. A. McAdam Memorial Chapel. Interment will be at a later date. For those who wish, memorial tributes may be made to Dr. Everett Chalmers Palliative Care Unit.
Mike Betts emerged to be one of, if not the best, bridge players to represent the Atlantic provinces. He had an impressive list of victories at all levels of play including local, regional, national, continental and world competition.
While his abilities were well known in the Maritimes, he gained national recognition when he and a bunch of young turks reached the final of the Canadian National Open Teams in 1982. Mike and his team of Alan Doane, Gerry Callaghan, Eric Balkam, John Stewart, and Victor Goldberg got the attention of the other competitors and had them all sweating to the very end when they lost the final by 1 IMP! Try blaming that on any one player. These boys put Maritime bridge on the map.
In 1990, Mike, partnered with Randy Bennett, along with Doug Heron, John Valliant, Ed Zaluski, and Dave Willis, all from the Ottawa area, won the Canadian Open Team Championship. They followed that by winning the Tri-country playoff with Bermuda and Mexico which determined who, along with the US qualifying team, would represent North America at the 1991 Bermuda Bowl (World Championship) to be held in Yokohama, Japan, where they finished a very respectable 11th overall. At this tournament, Mike and Randy also competed in the World Open Pairs for the Yokohama Cup and placed no less than a fantastic second overall.
Mike and Randy paired up again in 1997 and won the Canadian Open Pairs Championship. After that, Randy effectively retired from competitive bridge but Mike continued to hone his skills. In 2007, partnered with the late Jim “Flash” Gordon and the untested pair of Brian Alexander and Karl Hicks, Mike played in the ACBL Nashville Summer North American Championships. Together they won the six-day under-5000 Mini-Spingold Teams of Four Championship. The ninety-one team event ended when their opponents in the final round conceded with 16 boards to play.
Mike will not only be remembered for his contribution to local and national bridge. He was an avid golfer, and also a loving father, brother and grandfather. He will be remembered by those who knew him as a fierce competitor who loved the game and didn’t subscribe to winning at all costs. Mike Betts loved the game of bridge and the people who play it. He believed in total disclosure, and his demeanor at the table was always welcoming and friendly. These are attributes that are wanting in some of our current top players and wannabes. We can all take a lesson from Mike’s example not only in bridge but in life itself.
He was a warrior, a friend, and above all a truly principled human being. He will be missed by all who had the good fortune to have met him.
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