Beth Demers has one of the most compelling stories of a successful woman in the Atlanta bridge world. She and her late husband, Don, overcame so much and created a beautiful life.
Beth grew up in a family with two younger brothers Her father was a VP at a printing company and her mother was a stay-at-home Mom. In second grade, Beth decided she wanted to be a doctor. When she was 17 years old, she fell in love and was married at 18. Her mother made Don promise that Beth would still get her education in return for her blessing the union. Beth and Don found a way to both go to school, but agreed that graduate school would be out of the question. Don soon saw what a wonderful student Beth was in a prelaw class, and said he though she should go to Law School. Beth said if she were to go to graduate school, it would be in her first love....medicine. They decided that Beth would apply to Medical School as an early acceptance student since they wished to start their family. She got the news of her accptance on the day of her positive pregnancy test, and started medical school the next year when her daughter was 4 weeks old. She had her second daughter when she was a senior in Medical School. She and Don were both busy working, but began to have daycare problems when Beth was an Intern. They decided that one of them would need lto change their plans. Beth volunteered to resign from her internship and stay home. Don said he would be the stay-at-home parent and resigned his job. When Belth was able to get her first pay check as an intern, their bank account was down to $26.
When Don tried to reenter the job market, after being home raising the girls, he was told there was too much time since he was last employed. He could not get a job. Don wrote to the Wall Street Journal asking them to accept an article he wished to write describing the struggle he and a large number of stay-at-home moms faced when they were ready to continue their careers The Journal said they did not allow people to write unsolicited articles, but said his point was excellent and they would send a writer to work with them to create a story about their lives. The story appeared on the top half of the first page of the Journal, and Beth and Don were instant celebrities. They were featured on many TV shows including Phil Donahue, and partiicpated in numerous television panel discussions, as Don's message resonated with so many people. Soon, Hollywood came calling. A producer spent two weeks with the family, and they became the model for the movie 'Mr Mom.'
Beth worked most of her career in Emergency Room Medicine. When she thought she was 'burned out', she became an Internist for one year, building a practice from zero - 1200 patients. She sold the practice and returned to Emergency Room Medicine and retired in 2008. Unfortunately, her former medical practice partner became ill, so Beth worked many of his shifts until she retired for good in 2010.
Beth's two daughters live in the Atlanta area, as well as her 4 grandchildren. She is looking forward to taking the two oldest grandchildren to Botswana this summer.
Beth started playing bridge upon her retirement and is currently an assistant director at the Bridge Club of Atanta. She plans to take the Director's test in the near future. She will have to work that in with her busy schedule that includes scuba diving and travel.
Beth says she likes playing bridge since it is a wonderful way to preserve brain power. She says she learns something new every day at the bridge table. She enjoys the social aspect, and really likes the friends she has met. Her advice to the newer players is to remember it is just a game, and to have fun playing. She also encourages newer playere to 'stick with it' and the rewards will come.
When playing at Atlanta Duplicate Bridge Club, you may have noticed the beautiful orchids. They are brought in by Tom Drinkard, who maintains, feeds, and rehabilitates them just to bring a beautiful touch to our bridge experience.
Tom grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and attended Virginia Tech majoring in Computer Science. His career was like a bridge sandwich; he was a Software Developer and Systems Analyst followed by an eight year stint as a Bridge Tournament Director based in the Southeast, and then he went back to the computing field from which he retired. He met his wife, Laura, an accomplished bridge player at a tournament.
He lives with his three dogs. Sentry is a Black Lab and Stacy and Snickers are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Tom became interested in bridge when a friend of his girlfriend's famiy got him involved wih bridge during high school. During college, he and his partner won a Regional Student tournament and won a trip to the Nationals in that event. After college, he moved to Boston before settling in Atlanta in 1977. Tom attained the rank of Life Master shortly after moving to Atlanta by earning a section award in the Reisinger Board-a-Match team game during the fall Nationals held in Atlan
Tom left the bridge world after he retired from tournament directing in 1991 returning over 25 years later. Even when you lose to Tom, you are happy to have played with him as he is polite and helpful to all. He likes bridge because of the social aspects and because it challenges his mind. He is always lookig to improve his game and hopes to become a better partner.\
The orchid hobby was one he got involved with through Laura, who was raised in Hawaii and had a natural affinity for tropical plants Tom seems to be able to cure even the saddest looking orchid.
In addition to all of lthe above, Tom has been a philatelist, interested in US stamps since he was in high school He still has his original collection and became involved again in the hobby about 10 years ago, but he still enjoys the game of bridge more.
Virginia Saul is a beautiful and gracious lady who just turned 90 years young. She was raised with her younger brother in Atlanta and graduated from Girls High School and the University of Georgia.Virginia's mother, Theresa Diamond, was a avid bridge player until her death at 94, earning 2500 master points playing with partners including Jack Feagin and Carey Snyder. Virginia was sure she did not want to play bridge when she heard some of her mother's other partners squabble loudly, but her friend, Joyce Levow, suggested they take lessons and they started their bridge careers together.
Virginia worked as a teacher and then worked at Atlanta Antique Shop for 18 years. Virginia temporarily quit bridge as she grew more involved with her family and with volunteer activities including Hadassah, The Jewish Federation of Atlanta, and The Jewish Home. Virginia was recently honored by Hadassah for her lifelong commitment to its causes.
Virginia returned to duplicate bridge in 1989, and is one of the most respected and loved bridge players in Atlanta. She has vowed to top her Mother's master point total!
Along with Milton, the love of her life, Virginia raised three children and has 6 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. One of her daughters is Barbara Fleming, who is now a third generation terrific bridge player.
Virginia credits bridge with stimulating her mind and enjoys getting dressed and going out each day to play. She absolutely loves the great friends she has met playing bridge. She particularly loved her bi-weeklygames with Benny Joffe. Her advice to newer players is to keep trying and to play in the open game. She said she owes her success to her wonderful bridge teachers and partners. She still takes lessons and said she is constantly learning this wonderful game of bridge.
Ram was born in Chennai (Madras) Idia and his mother tongue is Tamil. He is the eldests of 3 children, having a brother and sister.
He attended school in Bombay until the 11th grade and completed his undergraduate education in Calcutta. He recieved his graduate engineering degree at Banares Engineering College and earned an MBA at the University of Akron.
Ram worked for several engineering firms including Braithwaite's and Babcock & Wilcox. He was a managing director at Conoco and Consumers Power, both in the US and India.
Ram lives with one of his daughers and her family in Sandy Springs. His three children are physicians, and both daughters are also engineers. He has 6 grandchildren, the eldest has just started school at Cornell University. He enjoys taking the entire family on cruises and other trips, sharing adventures with them in many parts of the world. Ram manages the many projects at his daughter's home. He is our resident early adopter of Bitcoins, and enjoys his yearly trips to Vegas, from which he comes back smiling
Ram first joined the ACBL in 1973, but began playing regularly in 2015. He is a very intelligent player who rose quickly through the ranks and is currently a Bronze Life Master. When asked why he progressed so far in such a short time, he credits the logical thinking he used in his engineering work. His advice to new players is to learn the systems and fundamentals without having to do every convention. He spends so much time playing bridge because it is the best chance to exercise his brain and because of the social aspect of the game.
Robert was born in the Washington, D.C. area, but grew up in North Carolina. An identical twin Robert played chess in school but learned bridge during college at Haverford College. Robert is a graduate student in Psychology at Emory University.
Robert was introduced to competitive bridge during his time, after undergraduate school, working in a research lab at UNC Chapel Hill. The bridge team there was very strong, and both the members of the bridge team and local expert community, helped Robert and the other members improve their bridge. With the UNC team, Robert made the final of the Collegiate National Championship (where they lost to Berkeley). Robert also won the C Flight North American Pairs at the Reno NABC, playing with Ben Kompa, also from UNC.
Robert enjoys playing with new players (particularly juniors). His advice to advancing players would be to focus on the basics, especially card pay, as well as never stop asking questions about why a position should (or should not) be played a certain way. If the person you are playing with can’t answer those questions, then find someone who can!
Outside of bridge, Robert is an avid soccer fan, part of a Supporter’s Group for the Atlanta United team. He attends every game and roots for the team.