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        Meet the Directors

                                    Allison White

Allison started playing duplicate bridge while living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but her first playing experiences go back to third grade when she attended the elementary school where her mother was teaching.  Allison’s lunch period coincided with that of her mother and two other bridge-playing teachers, so they called upon her to become their fourth at the lunchtime game.  Through the years, she played social bridge occasionally and haphazardly, always enjoying the game and the company; however, it wasn’t until retiring from education that she was introduced to duplicate bridge. 


While teaching high school English, Allison also helped develop the State of Illinois writing assessment program and worked with the University of Illinois to reconfigure the high school-middle school student teaching program.  Once her children left home to attend college, she became a high school principal and subsequently a district superintendent.  Upon retiring, she and her husband, Alan, moved south to establish Lightwood Mountain Pottery.  It was there that she joined a small group of friends to help establish a once-weekly game of duplicate bridge. 


Word spread that a game was being played in a small town halfway between Boone and Asheville, NC, and the group grew.  ACBL-sanctioned games require a director, and Allison volunteered to help facilitate the games.  So, after moving to Petoskey, when Larry Willis asked if she might consider becoming a director, he was delighted to learn that she had already been directing games for quite some time.


“I’m happy to contribute,” she says with a smile.  “Bridge is an amazing game.  Not only does it provide a mental challenge, more importantly, it provides the opportunity for us to reach out to each other, form new friendships and share new experiences.  We’re fortunate to have such a beautiful club and a great group of people who enjoy the game and each other.” 

                                      Larry Willis

Larry hails from Jolly Ol’ England.  While in college (Bachelors in Mathematics, Masters in Statistics) he started playing bridge.  After learning the British bidding system called ACOL he had to rapidly switch to Standard American when he moved to the United States in 1976.  In September that year he located in Petoskey and must love it because he is still here.

When Larry met his soulmate, Robyn, in 2005 he had just 15 masterpoints.  He explained duplicate bridge to her and told her he could not possibly live long enough to become a Life Master.  That was because there was just one game a week in the area.  Then two years later Mike & Pam created the Petoskey Bridge Club and a whole new world opened up.  Larry became a Life Master in 2008.

Through the generosity of Jean & Shirley Carpenter (plus 80+ other players) the Petoskey Bridge Club opened in our wonderful building in September 2009.  At that time the club became a corporation and Larry was an inaugural board member then took over the presidency from Mike when he and Debbie wanted to spend more time with their children and grandchildren.

When Pam & Mike needed a third director they asked Larry who nervously agreed.  Like many other directors he found directing can be quite challenging, but he really enjoys directing the Sunday Swiss games.00

                                 Josie MacDonald Doherty

Josie comes from a bridge playing family. Her parents, Ann and Ken MacDonald, met at the bridge table. While vacationing at Lake Leelanau her father spread out a blanket along the shore and dealt out the cards. He announced that Aces count 4, Kings count 3, Queens count 2 and
Jacks count 1, now tell me how much your hand adds up to ?; She was 8 years old. At holidays there was always a bridge table set up with revolving players: grandmother, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, brother-in-law.


Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, her family moved to Saginaw during her 5th grade year. Shereturned to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan, graduating in 1974. She met her husband, Bill Doherty, on a college spring break ski trip to Colorado and Utah in their junior year. After graduation they lived in Boulder, Colorado and were ski bums in Aspen for the winter, which was one of their most enjoyable winters ever, until they did it again for five more years starting in 2016. Josie and Bill skied 75 days in 2017-18.


Bill worked for Ford Motor Company, and they raised their four children, (one daughter and three sons,) in Beverly Hills, Michigan. Josie took an adult education class in calligraphy, and became skilled in many different hand lettered fonts. The Michigan Association of Calligraphers brought in the chief White House calligrapher several times to teach weekend workshops which Josie attended, inspiring her love and mastery of the copperplate font. That is how people wrote back in the 1700's using a turkey feather. Today the tool is a metal pointed nib. She has addressed thousands of wedding envelopes for customers. For nine years Josie was a vision technician for the Oakland County Health Department, screening vision in the schools for
preschoolers through 7th graders. Today they spend summers in an historic log cabin on Burt Lake.


Many, many years after learning the game, Josie was exposed to duplicate  bridge and got hooked on the fairness of duplicate competition. She became a Life Master in 2015, and just recently earned the rank of Silver Life Master. Thanks to the urging of Mike Sears, she took a weekend class in London, Ontario, in August 2019 and became a director. The instructor allayed
everybody's fears when he told the class that to date, he had never had a participant fail the test. When asked why she wanted to become a director, she said, "I want to know everything there is to know about bridge. Becoming a director is a logical next step towards that goal. I love to see people catch fire, become passionate and enjoy themselves at the bridge table. It is ONLY the greatest game ever invented."



Jonathan Friendly

I grew up in Washington DC in a family that loved card games. I was dragged to the bridge table in my early teens and thought it was a blast to steal tricks from my parents and siblings. One of my wife Lynn’s attractions when we met in college was her bridge skill, but parenthood (three sons and one daughter) and daily journalism’s demands kept us from any regular play.

For a while when I was copy editing at the New York Times, I was entrusted with the three-time-a-week column by Alan Truscott. He was a lovely man and, after the second time I pointed out an analysis error in a column, he invited me to play with him. One my great regrets is that I didn’t take him up on the offer.

Occasional social bridge and reading The Bridge World was the extent of my play until I met Lynne Parker in 2012 and, after an evening of Chicago at her house, she suggested we play at the club. To our surprise, we won and I was hooked. A whole new world of “real” bridge opened up to me just as I was wondering how to make retirement life more exciting.

I now play two or three times a week either at the club in the summer months or at a couple of clubs in and around Bradenton FL, our winter home. .

I was greatly flattered when Larry asked me to take the director training in 2016 and, apart from arguing with the dealing machine and the intricacies of Howell movements, the Sunday directing has been a nice experience. The most important aspect of the director status is that I get to write frequent emails to the nice people at ACBL who advise on rulings. It turns out that a lot of the complicated situations come down to ethical judgments, one of the most fascinating aspects of our endlessly fascinating game.



Mark Hess


Mark is a Michigander through and through. He was born and raised in Detroit and went to Michigan State, graduating in 1970 with a degree in mathematics. He married that year and he and wife, Rita, have twin girls and a son.


He went to work in the state legislature, becoming chief of staff for the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee. That encouraged an interest in law, which he pursued by getting his law degree from Thomas Cooley in Lansing in 1984. After graduation he signed on with the Dana Corporation, an automotive parts supplier, working in areas such as making sure their plants were in compliance with Federal laws and state regulations and managing cleanups when they happened.


Mark had played bridge in his mid-20's -- "never anything but duplicate," he said. His textbook, as for many of us, was Charles Goren's "Contract Bridge Complete."


But he was so busy with law school and his family that he took a long break from play. His work kept him in Lansing, then Toledo and two years in Houston before retirement. Rita's family had come to northwestern Michigan many years ago, and Mark and Rita bought a lot near Norwood and built a home for their retirement in 2000. Eight years later they made it their permanent home.


Mark had amassed about 20 masterpoints before taking his long break from play. Mike Sears lured him back, inviting him to the club on the day it opened. Mark planned to kibbitz but got talked into playing. He's been at it ever since, and is now a life master.


He has been directing Sunday games since 2010, when he signed on as a volunteer. "When I enjoy something as much as I do this club, I want to give something back," he explained.


He has enjoyed the experience, he said, but the role can sometimes be challenging. "A director has to deal with personalities and often with strong views," he noted. "Sometimes the players don't agree with each other -- or with me."

        Director Contacts

Nancy Colbert:  231.330.1600

Jonathan Friendly:  231.547.0213

Mark Hess:   832.326.1243

Dale Thayer:  231.238.8001


Allison White:  828.467.3023

Larry Willis:  231.838.4233

Club House:  231.622.8001

Where to Find Us

2144 Cemetery Road, Petoskey~ Behind Lowes ~


Phone Answered During

Playing Times

Email Address


Mailing Address

PO Box 722

Petoskey, MI  49770

501(c)(3) Public Charity Corp

EIN:  26-3656174

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