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OBITUARIES - 10/5/18

Oct. 1, 2018

Dick Williamson

From Las Vegas Senior Softball Association (LVSSA)

Dick Williamson, 79, of Las Vegas, Nevada, died on May 6.

He coached Little League for many years in his younger days. Primarily a pitcher during his career, he played/coached the Desert Inn Corporate Challenge team for many years.

He joined the Las Vegas Senior Sports Association in 1992 and played on top teams Skinny Dugan's and Turf's. He also played on and coached the Red Dogs.

He created the Neon women's 60s team in 2002 and within a few years beat almost every area 55 team (there weren't enough 60s women's teams for a division at the time), often without an equalizer. They won numerous national championships and for several years were the top women's 60's team in the country.

They won the SSWC inaugural TOC tournament in 2007 in Florida and the SSWC Triple Crown in Phoenix in 2008.

He was elected to the LVSSA Hall of Fame in 2008, and SPA Women’s National Coach of the Year in 2008. In 2011 the LV City Council declared 11/16 "Las Vegas Neons Day."

Eventually the team moved up to 65, then finally to 70 at which time he stopped coaching it and created a new 65 team with Laurie Buchman. He coached the new team until shortly before his death.



Dean G. Soule

Dean Soule, 84, of Vancouver, Wash., died on Aug. 16.

Soule was a longtime member of SSUSA, playing and managing Oregon City Sports in the 65s, 70s, 75s, and 80s age divisions. Soule and his teams were regular yearly participants in the Rock 'n Reno Challenge Cup.

Soule was a football All-American at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon, earning his degree in Education in 1956. Soule enjoyed a long career in teaching and coaching, retiring in the early 1990’s. Soule was active in several senior softball leagues in his area. He built many strong friendships with his teammates.


Richard “Rick” Matlock

Rick Matlock, 58, of Ceres, Calif. died on Aug. 18 in a drowning accident at New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River.

A longtime member of SSUSA, Matlock began playing in 2010 and spent his entire career with Stanislaus Sluggers. He most recently played in the Rock 'n Reno Challenge Cup and the Western National Championships in 2018. 

"Rick was a good ball player, teammate, and friend," said Mark Zurligen, manager of Stanislaus Sluggers. "He was a great asset to our team, playing the outfield and pitching. He was a very good hitter. One of our best memories of Rick was during one of the Rock 'n Reno tournaments. He could not make it until our first Saturday game. With a tired and banged up team he gave us a big lift by hitting three home runs. Some of us had the pleasure of playing with and against Rick for 40 years. Rick was even still playing with the younger crowd."

Born in Temple, Tex,, Matlock worked as a machinist at Dizney & Wise for 20 years and was a tow operator and Modesto yard manager for E-Towing.



Wayne E. Gilmore

Wayne Gilmore, 48, of Severn, Md., died Aug. 25 after suffering a heart attack during the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Last Chance Qualifier.

A member of Y’All Next, this was Gilmore’s second season playing with SSUSA.

"Wayne, TMax and the Y'all Next team have been playing in my tournaments for years, long before they started joining the 40+ circuit," said Tim McElroy, SSUSA National Director. "Consisting of mostly military guys, they have been nothing short of classy and respectful. I've been thinking of the team, thinking of Lara (wife) and the children Wayne left behind since this happened. It is a difficult time for everyone who knew him. 48 years simply wasn't enough time for a guy like Wayne. 'Smoke' won't be forgotten anytime soon. RIP-2".

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Gilmore proudly served his country as a member of the United States Army, serving as a Combat Medic during Operation Desert Storm.

He worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for MedStar Washington Hospital Center and was a NASM certified personal trainer.


Ernest “Ernie” Jones Sr.

Ernie Jones, 75, of Prescott, Ariz. died Sept. 16 following a battle with cancer. He was a longtime member of SSUSA and managed Yavapai Casino.

Jones was drafted into the U.S. Army on July 29, 1965. During his training, he qualified for jump school and served 13 months in Vietnam.

Jones valued education and pursued many degrees throughout his lifetime. He graduated from Yavapai College with an AA degree in Administrative Justice, he received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Phoenix in Business Management, and received his Master’s degree in Organizational Management.

Jones served as president of the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe and was a Prescott-area community leader.

Jones and his wife, Janet, established the Yavapai College athletics scholarship fund and routinely gave back to the college's community. In 2014, Jones was given the President's Outstanding Alumnus award by Yavapai College for his instrumental work in the community.

"Under Mr. Jones’s leadership, the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe has been a great supporter of not only athletics, but also student clubs, the Family Enrichment Center, the Performing Arts Center and the Sculpture Garden,” said Steve Walker, former executive director of the Yavapai College Foundation, who presented Jones with the award.


Michael J. Lofton

Michael “Pops” Lofton, 64, of Sacramento died on Sept. 23.

A longtime member of SSUSA, Lofton most recently played in 2017 with TRI-C Machine. He also played with MBA Elite, California Energy and Wilson Trophy.

“I can still hear Michael’s deep voice in the dugout, telling us words of wisdom, such as ‘Come, on man!...they’re throwing it underhand,” said Terry Hennessy, a teammate of Lofton’s on the Wilson Trophy 55 team from Sacramento. “Michael was a warm and funny teammate and a good friend.”

"The thing that stood out about Michael was that he was always a team guy," said George Moreno, who managed the Wilson Trophy team.

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Lofton served in the Air Force (1976-1983), and worked as a United States Postal Worker until retiring in 1998.

Lofton was extremely proud of his most recent educational accomplishment, graduating from Cosumnes River College in 2016 with an Associates of Art degree in Media/Film Arts.

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