We will never forget our fallen softball brothers. We dedicate this page to those of us who left us too early, and are playing the game we love in Heaven, God willing. Please use the Contact page to submit info on any players who have passed so we can add them to this page.
To submit someone for the In Memoriam page, please include the following:
ALERT -- ALWAYS READ HERE FIRST
Thomas Wayne "Tom" Peterson
John "Jack" Edward Mello
Click HERE to watch a tribute video about Jack.
FHC Hall of Famer Jack Mello passed away at home on March 28, 2022, in the presence of his beloved wife and dear friends. He was 73-years-old, and will be missed by all who knew him and the fellowship of FHC.
Jack was born in Providence, RI, on May 8, 1948, to parents of Irish and Portuguese heritage, and grew up in the poor mill town of Esmond, Rhode Island. He attended LaSalle Academy, where he played baseball and basketball, donning his favorite number of “32.” He then attended Rhode Island College for nine (9) years, working to pay for his education costs in an iron foundry, textile mill, pallet factory, Christmas tree factory and as a bartender. His commitment to hard work, attaining goals and a “can-do” attitude was evident throughout his life. Jack’s glass was always half full, and he was undaunted by the challenges life threw in his way.
Jack studied to become a teacher (so he could have summers off to play ball). Disheartened by the students’ apathy, he lasted 4 days before he quit and then bartended full time.
After seeing pictures of Florida’s beautiful blue ocean, and listening to his aunt extoll the wonderful weather, he decided a foray to the Sunshine State was “in the cards,” because he had always hated the cold. He set out after his beloved Red Sox lost in the Series, and cried all the way to North Carolina. He started his career in insurance in 1975. In his job interview, he was told he would have to make 100 cold calls a day, and he would “maybe get 1 or 2 sales.” His response was “I can do that!” Nothing deterred him. Jack loved his work and his clients, always laboring to insure the best possible result for those he served. He expanded his expertise as a financial professional, and counseled his clients to insure secure and profitable retirements. Jack’s compassion and empathy for his clients led to 'round the clock work, but resulted in enormous satisfaction for someone who just wanted to “do the right thing.” His body of work led to his induction into the Insurance Hall of Fame.
Jack was a lifelong sports enthusiast, and he was the “Google” of sport statistics before the internet. He loved to play softball, and was inducted into the Florida Half Century Softball Hall of Fame. Jack played and sponsored many teams, meeting and befriending the players. He not only financed their desire to play the game they loved, but he became their trusted financial advisor and friend for life. Jack was a team player on the field with his teammates and with his clients. There was no “I” in team with Jack. In life and in sports, Jack believed what the great Bambino said: "Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."
To know Jack was to know when he entered a room he commanded it – with a twinkle in his eye, a smile on his lips, a handshake, and a story to tell. He was magnanimous, generous, and charitable all in a humble manner. He was bigger than life, but simply cared about others. When you met him, you were his friend? We asked some of those who knew Jack to comment.
"Jack was a special guy that I met over 35 years ago when a teammate brought him to play with my over 40’s National Championship team when we were short. He played well, starting a 35-year relationship. He was a gentleman, and never had a bad word about anyone. He loved the game, and gave a lot of players an opportunity to play the game. The softball community has lost one of the good ones, as the saying goes. Jack is gone from our sight, but never from our hearts."
FHC Hall Of Fame Member
"Jack Mello, one of the most kind and compassionate man I have ever known. He would give you the shirt off his back, or cash out of his pocket if you needed help. He was brilliant in financial concepts, and loved working with people to help them with all of their financial needs. He had a mind like a steel trap, especially so when it came to the Boston Red Sox, or pretty much any other sports team you can imagine as far as what happened on what day and all of the statistics associated. Jack Mello was a living legend, and he left a legacy of all his accomplishments to all of the people he came across and touched in life. He lives on in the Financial Hall of Fame, and the Florida Half Century Hall of Fame, where he will always be remembered. He left an indelible mark on life that will live on through those he touched. God bless you Jack Mello, we love you!"
Coach & Manager Mello Financial
"Jack was the best friend anyone could ever have. He cared about everybody, and as a result everyone loved him. I miss my friend Jack."
Coach & Manager Mello Financial
"My world changes from day to day, but the love and memory of Jack Mello shall never pass away."
Area 4 Director FHC
"Jack Mello was a great friend to FHC, and especially those people in the SE Florida Area. At one time, he had 7 teams that he sponsored. He only played on one of those, so he was a friend and supporter for over a hundred men and their wives or significant others. Most guys are very excited when I call them and tell them that they have been elected to the FHC Hall of Fame. He said, "I can’t believe that. Are you sure I deserve this?" I said he deserved it as much as any person in Florida. He was a Player, a Manager, a Sponsor, and a good man. It can't get any better than that."
Jimmy Falu, #51, a native of Carolina, Puerto Rico, was a member of Brick City Venom. He started playing FHC in January 2021. An amazing player and person died suddenly in his sleep. He served in the U.S. Army (82nd Airborne Division) from 1990 to 1997. Moved to the Ocala area in 2020. A powerful hitter with great playing skills. He played for just one year in FHC with Brick City Venom out of Ocala, but made an impact by hitting 22 Homers in just 22 games. He was a good husband, son, father and friend. We will surely miss his playing abilities, but most of all his friendship and brotherhood.
Jerry Leach, 28 year member of the FHCASA passed recently at home. A friend to everyone he ever met, Jerry was recruited by Al Palmquist and played most of his FHC career with the Lightning 50+ team. He will be sorely missed.
Edward "Eddie" Hicks
Edward died of Covid-19 related complications. Eddie grew up in the small town of Hephzibah, Georgia. He played football and baseball in his junior and senior year of high school. He was a running back in football and a shortstop in baseball, winning the state championship in 1972. He was drafted out of high school by the New York Mets. He chose to get his education first and went to college. After college, he signed with the Mets, and was playing minor league AAA ball when he chose another career path. Eddie joined the United Sates Navy in 1978, and served faithfully for 20 years, receiving numerous medals and campaign ribbons. Eddie started playing Florida Half Century Softball with Line Drive at the age of 50. He later played with the Florida Classics, Top Choice, and his current team at the time of passing was the Beach Boyz 65’s. Eddie was soft spoken, very quiet and professional in life and on the softball field. He was a 5 tool player and his skill sets were always on display.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years (Queen), 1 daughter (Tarean Miller), 2 grandchildren (Edward and Ishawna Miller), and numerous other relatives.
A life well done Eddie – Rest in Peace.
Richard G. "Rick" Johnson Jr.
Born January 1, 1948
Died July 1, 2021
Rick Johnson, passed away peacefully Thursday July 2, 2021, surrounded by his family. Rick, was a true Senior Softball supporter, both as a player and manager. Rick was instrumental in founding the Senior Softball Leagues in St. Augustine over two decades ago, as well as being the Coach and Manager of the successful Oasis and Sunset Grille teams since 2001. He will be missed by many, and remembered by all.
Rest in Peace Richard Johnson, Rest in Peace.
The Passing of FHC member Greg Buck. Greg was a Member of a few FHC teams. He played for Here For Beer, Death and Taxes and the Suncoast Outlaws. Greg was also a past President of the 3 Score Softball Club based out of Clearwater. Greg was well respected on all the teams he played for. As well as a being a great player on the field of play he was a great person off the field. Always taken part in off the field activities held by the various teams he played on. His smile and playing will be missed by all…RIP Our FRIEND!!!
John N. Culley
Born February 15, 1930
Died November 14, 2020
John N. Culley, a past President of the Florida Half Century Amateur Softball Association, passed away on November 14, 2020, at the age of 90. He was Manager for the Orlando Codgers from 1980 to 1990, and led the team to 527 wins and 214 losses.
John was born in Jewett City, Connecticut, before his family moved to Orlando. John attended Orlando High School, where he played third base on the baseball team in 1948 when the team went to the State Championship.
He served in the United States Coast Guard from 1948 to 1951 in Sault Ste Marie, MI. John had a successful career as a General Contractor and Real Estate Broker in the Central Florida area before retiring. John enjoyed oﬃciating high school and college football and basketball, and was a past president of the Central Florida Oﬃcials Association and member for 30 years. He was also a past president of the Tip Oﬀ Club and was the first President of the Florida Half Century Amateur Softball Association. He loved to play softball and golf. He managed the Orlando Codgers mens softball team to a record of 527 wins and 214 losses.
John is survived by his wife, Sally Culley; daughters Christeen Browning, Jocelyn Stridsberg and Lynn Garapic; grandchildren Kelly VanBuren and Christeen Stridsberg-Sargent and great-grandchildren, Cameron VanBuren and Noelle VanBuren.
Lewis "Lou" Bevell
Born July 24, 1959
Died October 2, 2020
Lewis Edward Bevell (Lou) was born July 24, 1959 to David P. Bevell and Ida F. Bevell in Hannibal, MO. Lou graduated from Hannibal High School class of 1977, and entered the USAF in August 1977, where he was honorably discharged after 4 years. Lou became a City of Tampa Fire Rescue employee on July 15, 1985, and retired from Fire Rescue on March 1, 2014. Lou was a member of Florida Half Century and ProAm Softball until his passing. He is survived by his mother and two sisters; Natalie (Sam) Astorino of Hannibal, MO and Colette Smith of Stuart, Florida. Three nieces; Angela (Mike) Williams of Quincy, IL, Jessica (Travis) Hall of Stuart, FL, Mercedes Smith of Virginia Beach, VA. one nephew David (Kimberly) Astorino of Hannibal, MO, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, great nieces and nephews. Lou is preceded in death by his father, David P. Bevell, grandparents, Edward Bevell, Beatrice Bevell, Lewis Thompson and Arilla Thompson. Lou will be greatly missed by all who loved him, especially Pluto, his Dalmatian. Until we meet again sweet Lou.
Carleton "Carl" McWilliams
Born - 5/6/1943
Died – 9/19/2020
Carl began playing with teams in The Villages from 2008–2020. He was an excellent softball player with one of the strongest arms in softball. He was a permanent fixture at 3rd base, and later at middle infielder, as well as other positions. He was an outstanding hitter with a batting average well over (.700) for National Tournaments.
Carl represented Florida Half Century organization in many SSUSA, ISSA, and SPA National Tournaments.
Carl Played for the following National Teams from The Villages, FL: Village Merchants 65’s, Beef O’Brady 65’s, Talon Wealth Management 70’s, TB Financial Group 70’s & 75’s.
Florida Half Century Teams – Beef O’Brady 65’s, Frankie Brin Financial 70’s & 74’s.
Carl was soft spoken and well- liked by all his teammates. He will be missed.
A Memorial Service for Carleton W. McWilliams, age 77, of Morristown, and The Villages, FL, will be held on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at 2:00PM with Rev. F. James Shurtleff officiating at Frary Funeral Home, Ogdensburg, N.Y.
Online condolences can be made at www.fraryfuneralhomes.com.
Cards can be sent to:
1996 Culpepper Way
The Villages, FL
Born - 6/14/1952
Died – 8/31/2020
Ed was a proud member of the Delco's Softball Team and Suncoast Outlaws during his FHC Playing Days. Ed was also a member of the 3 Score Softball Club, where he played with many of his FHC buddies during the week. Ed will be missed by all.
Ed was born June 14, 1952 and Passed August 31, 2020 of Pancreatic Cancer.
Michael Paul Putala
Born - 4/30/1941
Died – 8/14/2020
Michael Paul Putala, age 79, of Jacksonville passed away peacefully on August 14, 2020. He was born April 30, 1941 in Russell, Massachusetts. He graduated from Turners Falls High School, Class of 1958. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and proudly served his country during the Vietnam war. He dedicated 20 years of his life, and retired as Chief Petty Officer in 1978.
After retirement, he became an avid recreational softball player, and considered all the men he played with a part of his family. Softball was also where he met his best friend, Stu Caldwell, of 29 years.
He played on 3 teams in Florida Half Century, the Jax 50’s, the Jacksonville Classics and the Orlando Flyers. One of the best First Base ball players in the league.
His memory will live on by all that knew and loved him. The service was held on August 17th, from 3:00-4:00 pm at Hardage-Giddens Greenlawn Funeral Home, 4300 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL. The graveside service was held on August 18th at 10:00 am at Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4083 Lannie Road, Jacksonville, FL. Due to COVID restrictions, they limited the service to immediate family only.
Born - 1939
Died - 7/9/2019
A great player and person, Jake Dieter, 80, passed away last Tuesday, 7/9/19. He played for years on various FHC teams including Oasis, Premium Seats, and Dixie Gas. He also played on travel teams, NY Statesmen and Oregon Road Runners. Below is a summary.
Clarence Jacob "Jake" Dieter, 80, passed away this Thursday after a long battle with Multiple Myeloma. There are no plans for a service in Florida, as he is going to buried in his softball uniform in his hometown in Missouri at a later date. Jake will always be remembered for his infectious smile and his crooked ball cap. He was a great player and an even better person. If you want to send a sympathy card to his wife, Alex, the address is:
3155 Ocean Grande
South Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
Born - 7/18/1955
Died - 2/18/2019
Rick was a part of FHC for the past 14 years playing for both the Wolfpack and the Silver Rays over the years.
Buck "Bucky" Johnston
Born - 4/10/1949
Died - 2/16/2019
James Mitchell Gennette
Born - 6/20/1932
Died - 1/23/2019
James Mitchell Gennette, 86, passed away on Wednesday January 23, 2019. Jim was born on June 20, 1932 in CT to Joseph and Helen Gennette.
A U.S. Marine, where he fought in the Korean War, Border Patrol Agent, U.S. Immigration Investigator and U.S. Marshall. Member of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus and NARCS.
A devote Catholic who enjoyed playing golf and softball with family and friends. Survivors in addition to his wife Mary are his son, Thomas; daughter, Helen (Bill); grandchildren, Jessica (Zach), James and Will; great granddaughter, Ava Marie; sister, Eleanor; nieces, nephews and wonderful friends.
His memory will live on by all that knew and loved him. A Mass was held 10:00 am Friday February 1st, 2019 at Resurrection Catholic Church, 3383 University Blvd N, Jacksonville, FL 32277.
Burial was at The Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4083 Lannie Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32218, with United States Marine Corp Honors.
James (Jim) Gennette played softball on Florida Half Century Teams for over 20 Years, to include the Jax 50's and Jacksonville Classics. One of the best Second Base ball players in the league.
Wallace "Steve" S. Smith
Born - 8/7/1949
Died - 7/16/2018
With sadness we announce that Ron Champagne (0400CC060447) passed away on July 1, 2018.
Born April 8, 1947
Died July 1, 2018
Bucs and Bulls
Born - November 13, 1947
Died - May 27, 2018
Bill R. Price, age 70, of Valrico, FL lost his battle with cancer on May 27, 2018. Bill was a Master Mechanic and business owner. He was a Baptist and enjoyed life to its fullest. Bill loved playing softball and golf. He also enjoyed leather working, antiques and old cars. He was Vice President of the White House Boys.
Bill was inducted into the Florida Half Century Hall of Fame in May of 2018. Bill last played with the Florida Mustangs 65’s, winning several FHC State Championships. Bill also represented our Florida Half Century organization in many SSUSA, ISSA and SPA National Tournaments.
Bill is a “Players Player” and represented his teammates, managers, officials and the FHC Organization at the highest levels of integrity, sportsmanship and a sincere love of the game. Bill will be missed, but never, never forgotten. RIP Billy Price!
Douglas A. Glessner passed away at the young age of 58, in March of 2017 after a recurrance of cancer. Doug last played on Sportsbook1.eu (SB1), a 50's team that had previously been Extreme Softball and R&L metals. Doug was a big, power hitting lefty who played 1B for SB1 until starting to feel weak in the summer of 2016. A trip back to the doctor showed that his lymphoma had returned after 30 years, and while his treatment did help for a time, Doug ended up in Hospice care in early 2017, after coming out to watch his former teammates play at the end of 2016.
Doug can be seen standing at the back of this team photo taken when he came out to watch his final game.
Died June 27, 2017
Mike established the "BOB" (Businesses of Brevard) over 50, 60, & 65 FHC teams; he managed, coached and played for these teams for nearly 15 years.
Mike had served as an member of the FHC board.
Mike also helped establish and served as chairperson for the Central Brevard Over 40 softball league (established 25 years ago) and was a Manager-Player/coach for the over 50 Central Brevard Senior league. Both of these leagues helped to promote participation into the weekend FHC tournaments.