Back to Mike Wise

From: (John J. Chew)
Date: Sat, 1 Aug 1998 01:43:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Mike Wise, in memoriam
Message-id: <>

Dear friends,

It is with heartfelt sadness that I have to announce the passing earlier today (July 31st) of Mike Wise, aged 55, following a lengthy illness.

I first met Mike five years ago, when a couple of guys I met online[1] revealed to me that there were people who took Scrabble seriously enough to play in clubs and tournaments, and that I should try visiting NSA Club #3 in Toronto. Mike was there that first Wednesday night, as he was for all but a couple of nights during his two-decade-long tenure as the president of the NSA's oldest club.

Mike was devoted to the game and to its players; I've lost count of how many people I've talked to recently who've described him as their Scrabble mentor, and I would certainly include myself in that number.

As I've been finding out in the past few months substituting for Mike in his various duties, he spent an immense amount of time and energy supporting the continuing existence of a Scrabble community in Toronto. In addition to running a club with an average weekly attendance of close to fifty players, he directed both a club tournament and an annual open tournament of about 100 players. He had also been chosen to return as director of the Second Canadian Scrabble Championship, an event that would not have existed without his many years of lobbying.[2]

His many past honours include directing the 1993 WSC and the 1995 Superstars Tournament, being named the 1993 NSA Director of the Year, being a member of several NSA Committees, and having won countless tournaments throughout his lengthy playing career.

He always did find time to enjoy many a game of Scrabble though, and my fondest memories of him are of his one flaw: his inability to resist the urge to get away with an outrageous phony. He taught me very early on the pleasure of playing a strategically unchallengeable yet totally ludicrous nonword. It was some time before I learned that this was something entirely unrelated to and separate from the renowned sense of fair play that made him such a good director.

For those who are able to attend, his funeral will be at noon on Sunday, August 2nd, at Temple Emanu-El, 120 Old Colony Road, in North York off Bayview Avenue, south of highway 401. An announcement will be published in tomorrow's Toronto Star. Donations may be made in his name to the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.

I will be setting up a part of the Club #3 web space as an online memorial to Mike. Anyone who would like to share their memories of him can either post here or e-mail me privately.

Mike is survived by his wife Lynda and their two children, and in a broader sense, by the entire Scrabble community.


[1] One now maintains the Scrabble FAQ, the other is the reigning Canadian and North American Champion.

[2] The Club #3 September tournament and the Canadian National Scrabble Championship in October will proceed as scheduled; details about them can be found at my web site.

John Chew (poslfit on MD/WD/PD) *