The American Bridge Association

History & Archives

Corpus Christi, Texas


1957<>  Mrs. Nina Chaplin Jordan decided to call two social bridge clubs together “The Twelve Friends (Ladies) Bridge Club,” and The Men’s Professional Bridge Club,” to discuss the organization of a duplicate bridge club in 1957.  At the second meeting the name “Harbor Bridge Club” was selected from the list presented.


The charter members were: 

Charles Crawford Roberta Crawford Harry C. Kenyon
Colone Cummings Lillian Carline Leathers Abertine Moore
Elvira Johnson Marion A. Sims Emily Hicks
Viola Johnson Vera Sims Fola Sweatt
Johnnie Lee Kendall Nina Chaplin Jordan Oscar Sweatt
William Kendall Adell Mays Annie B. Thomas
Portia Hervey   Robmae Murray

Marion A. Sims was elected the first president of the Harbor Bridge Club.


The members had little knowledge of duplicate bridge and sought the help of the Ace Hi Bridge Club of San Antonio, Texas.  Lonnie Hysaw, L.E. Askey and Calvin Kennedy became our mentors traveling to Corpus Christi giving instructions on duplicate procedures, the laws of duplicate bridge and duplicate play.  They helped the club with the ordering of supplies and affiliation with the American Bridge Association.


1965<>  It was several years before the membership hosted their first Grade “A” Regional at the Nueces Hotel with sixteen (16) pairs, representing San Antonio, Houston and Corpus Christi on July 17-18, 1965.


1967<> Club membership had grown and the club was in need of a two days workshop which was directed by Calvin Kennedy and would need it again in 1972.  Doyle Branch of Houston assisted the Harbor Bridge Club to implement changes and to update ABA requirements.


1975-1979<> The club lost more than half of its members because of family relocations, deaths and disinterest.  Only six of the remaining charter members and four new players helped to hold the club together until 1979.


1980-1982<> With the assistance of Earline Winn and Captain Al Bellamy the club began to grow again with increased membership (18) and interest.  In 1982, Lionel Barton assisted in training the club members to play a new system, started an immediate presentation of awards and encouraged improvement in the starting times for all games.  The Harbor Bridge Club took advantage of the free teaching materials and Roberta Crawford held two classes per year for instruction of new members.  Tournament advertising improved and more Harbor Bridge Club members began to attend Grade “A”


1984-1985<> The section and club began a massive membership drive and Corpus Christi was a part of it with twenty-seven (27) active players.  Again, Captain Al Bellamy and Earline Winn came to Corpus Christi and held a Bridge Seminar on Directing Club Games on May 23, 1985. The entire club attended the two day seminar along with guest Raney Brown of Houston and Dr. and Mrs. Flemmings of Austin who were planning to establish a club in Austin, Texas.  Roberta Crawford, who had been responsible for directing all club games, gained two well trained assistants, Sharon Stewart and James MooreSharon assisted by James Moore had since held a successful bridge class for new players.


1986-1987<>  Club membership increased to thirty-two (32) playing members in 1986 but in 1987 receded to twenty-six (26) and by 1989 boasted of twenty-two (22) quality members.  The Southwestern Section’s Revised Constitution and By-Laws were ratified in Corpus Christi in 1987.  The Harbor Bridge club had been well represented with participation and awards on local, sectional and national levels.  Cecil L. Pryer, Jr., Irene Demerson, Leroy Cummings, Clara Elzy, James Moore, Roberta Crawford and Charles Crawford were included in the top ten in the 1987 William Friend Race in each of their divisions.


 Roberta Crawford received the National Merit Award in 1985, served on the National New Players Committee in 1984-85, and was awarded a plaque for top recruiter in the Southwest, nominated for Leonard Jefferson for Life Membership and gave a presentation before the National Merit Award Committee in 1987 and 1988, served as sectional chairperson of the Election Committee in 1989, and was a member of the National Scholarship Committee from 1986-1989.  Sharon Stewart served in the National New Players Committee in 1986 and 1987 seceded by Charles Crawford in 1988 and 1989.


1988 <>The Harbor Bridge Club was host to a Directors’ Seminar in October 1988 for the Southwestern Section.  Dr. William Furr was instructor for the participants from Houston, Beaumont, Dallas and Corpus Christi areas.  Club members participating were Sharon Stewart, James Moore and Roberta Crawford.  Club representatives were in attendance at the workshops in Houston on July 1985, and March 20-23, 1985 with Captain Al Bellamy as instructor, assisted by Earline Winn; and at the Beaumont Directors’ Workshop instructed by Dr. William Furr in 1988.


1989<>In 1989, there were five “Charter Members” in the club, Charles Crawford, Roberta Crawford, Colone Cummings, Elvira (Tillie) Johnson and Oscar Sweatt who had provided guidance, support and inspirations for many years for the present president, Claude L. Melton and the past presidents:
Marion A. Sims Bonnie Robinson Moody Robmae Murray
Oscar Sweatt Cornelius C. Sampson Emily Hicks
  Charles Crawford  

All had operated on friendship, cooperation, recruitment and participation.


The Harbor Bridge Club remembered the contributions of the Final Grand Slammers – Marion A. Sims, Cornelius C. Sampson, Nina Chaplin Jordan, Harry C. Kenyon, Portia D. Hervey, Fola Ann Sweatt, Myrtle Carroll, Gladys Mays and James Otis Johnson. 


Trophies are on the shelves of every club member from 1958 through 1989 providing evidence that the Harbor Bridge Club, however small, had a history of achievement and success, and will work to perpetuate the continued growth of the Southwestern Section and the American Bridge Association.


Note – This history is located in volume 1 of the Southwestern Section History Books.



Doyle Branch


Calvin Kennedy


Lionel O. Barton


Earline Winn




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