SIGN IN:   Password      »Sign up


» Latest news   Sections: Obituaries | Tournaments | Womens' Corner | Editorials     » For Advertisers: Editorial Calendar

Obituaries: November 2023 - March 2024

March 1, 2024

Joe Wayne Hanzelka

Joe Hanzelka, 63, of Rosenburg, Tex., died on Nov. 2023.

     Joe began playing with Senior Softball USA in 2014, the same year he helped create the well-established Crossfire 50, 55 and 60s teams of Texas.

     “Joe was a beloved teammate and a loyal friend who was at the heart of the Crossfire teams’ success for nearly a decade,” said follow Crossfire player Paul Towne, in a tribute post on Joe’s online obituary.

     “Joe was a quiet leader who was highly respected for his tenacity, gritty play and endurance, but more importantly for his generosity, camaraderie and commitment the team spirit,” added Paul.

     In addition to softball, Joe enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, travelling and listening to country music.

     Joe played with Crossfire 50, 55 and 60s teams from 2014 to his passing, and briefly with Houston Fire 55s for a few tournaments in 2014.


Leonard J. M. Suess

Lenny “Len” Suess, 83, of Troy, Ill., died on March 15.

     He has a long past with Senior Softball USA, starting in the mid-1990s.

     He’s remembered most for managing Prairie Inn Senior Red Birds (formerly Senior Red Birds 75s and 80s).

     “Len was an avid supporter and fan of Triad High School and the sports programs,” according to his online Softball Players Association obituary. “He was actively involved in senior softball both as a player and a manager.”

     He was recently inducted into the St. Louis Softball Hall of Fame and earned Softball Players Association’s National Award.

     Before playing with and managing Senior Red Birds 75s and 80s, Lenny played with US Pallet 55s (IL) and Chicago Classics 60s and 65s.


Richard Root

Richard Root, 78, of St. Paul, Minn., died on March 19 during the 2024 Spring World Championships.

     Richard passed away doing what he loved, playing senior softball and managing the Minnesota Masters 80s. He collapsed and was pronounced dead at The Fields at Little Valley in St. George, Utah, despite immediate resuscitation attempts by the director and umpire.

     Rich started to play with Senior Softball USA in 2015 and has played with teams from numerous states in his 10-year SSUSA history.

     “Throughout his life, Rich was very active in sports. He was an avid runner, cyclist, and softball player,” according to his online obituary. “From bicycling awards, golf tournaments, and Senior Olympics… to organizing and playing for senior competitive softball teams.”

     After a career working in civil engineering and asphalt, he and his wife Carol were able to settle down and build their dream homes in Scottsdale, Az. and then Lake Minnetonka in Mn. to be closer to kids and grandkids.

     Rich played with Scrap Iron Legends 70s and 75s (CO) and Minnesota Lumberjacks 70s, then joined the Minnesota Masters organization when he was eligible to play 75+. Rich assumed the role of manager of the Minnesota Masters 75s when the former manager moved to the Masters 80s. After a few years, Rich then moved to the 80s and continued as the manager.

Senior Softball-USA
Phone: (916) 326-5303
Fax: (916) 326-5304
9823 Old Winery Place, Suite 12
Sacramento, CA 95827
Senior Softball-USA is dedicated to informing and uniting the Senior Softball Players of America and the World. Senior Softball-USA sanctions tournaments and championships, registers players, writes the rulebook, publishes Senior Softball-USA News, hosts international softball tours and promotes Senior Softball throughout the world. More than 1.5 million men and women over 40 play Senior Softball in the United States today. »SSUSA History  »Privacy policy

Follow us on Facebook