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After 50 years, former WSU staff still gather to play bridge

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

There’s something about working side by side for years that has a way of connecting people for life. For Jean McClure and a group of her former Wichita State co-workers, years after working together they still find time to get together and play -- literally.

McClure, who retired last year from WSU’s Center for Management Development after 47 years at Wichita State, is one of the founding members of a group of former staff who meet every month to play bridge.

The other founding members are Betty Brunk Young, a former manager at WSU’s credit union, and Phyllis Schneider Brothers, who was in research administration.

They’ve been playing together since 1962.

McClure says they started getting together on their lunch hour during work. It was a fun way to relax and build friendships at the office.

Over the years members of the group have come and gone, and they have all retired from the university by now. But McClure and seven others found it difficult to give up the fun, and they continue to meet now once a month.

They try to keep the group exclusive to former WSU employees; the WSU Women’s Association also has a bridge club, for current staff.

McClure says playing bridge with her friends is still fun after all these years.

“It keeps us connected,” she says.

And it’s not just about playing bridge anymore. They simply enjoy seeing each other.

A couple of the group member’s and former WSU staff, Carol Krebbs and Isabel Gates (mother of U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates), are in their mid-90s. The group makes a point to go to where Krebbs and Gates live to make things easier on them.

“It’s probably more fellowship than anything,” McClure says. “It keeps our minds going, but it’s a connection and friendship over the years that really keeps us going.”

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Created on Tuesday, September 21, 2010; Last modified on Tuesday, September 21, 2010