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Paul H. Bussiere

A TRIBUTE TO PAUL H. BUSSIERE L.A. Pool League member

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It is with great regret that I report the passing of our member and dear friend Paul H. Bussiere on Friday, May 4, 2001.

Paul was a member of the L.A. Pool League since the late '70s and played in each and every season without exception; never as an alternate, and more often than not as the Captain. Some years ago, when his close friend and teammate Mike Calderone decided to take a break from the rigors of the usual 30 or more weeks per year schedule, they both realized that their friendship had stood the test of competing together for more than thirty consecutive seasons. This must be a record for our League.

Paul was a very determined player and the results were obvious. He was one of the few multi-season League individual champions and also the holder of THREE West Coast Challenge individual titles; the first two being almost exactly ten years apart. However, nothing made him happier than a team win. He had that pleasure on several occasions. One of the teams consisted of Paul, Mike Calderone, Dale Barber and Bob Holden. Another was with Paul, Mike, Scott Holecek and Big Joe Dreibus. That team went on to win the West Coast Challenge Team Championship when L.A. hosted the event in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Grand Ballroom. His Fall 1986 championship team consisted of Paul, Mike, Dale Barber and Don Lee. Two other winning teams were with Paul, Scott, Rick Ayres and I. Some of these names are unknown to our newer members and it may be difficult to relate to these memories. However, they are part of the foundation of this League and their fierce support helped keep us strong.

Paul also gave his talent and time to the League. When the League needed banners for tournaments or the West Coast Challenge, Paul created and donated them. As a Master Electrician, he helped rig lighting for the L.A. hosted West Coast Challenge events. When Lou Butera (1973 World Pocket Billiards Champion) gave his exhibitions to our League, he made certain that all of the technical aspects were first rate. Most importantly, he stood as an example of good sportsmanship and fair play.

He also served six terms on the Board of Governors during the 1980s. He was tough but his heart was always with the best interests of the League. He opposed cash incentives for winning players in the firm belief that it would corrupt the spirit of the League and draw the wrong element. For his service to the League, he received the Special Recognition Award at the Spring 1988 season's banquet at the Four Star.

Paul was a very private man and a devoted friend. He was the Rock of Gibraltar who could take a bullet without wincing and was definitely the man you'd want on the bridge in any storm. He was an experienced Captain; knowledgeable of our Rules of Play and always a gentlemen. He adored pool and it was obvious.

In the end, he couldn't lick the aggressive form of Cancer he developed with no apparent cause ever established. During the last 9 months, he spent a substantial amount of time in various hospitals while the doctors tried in vain to save him. His partner of almost 20 years, Scott Holecek, devoted the last year of his life to ensuring his comfort and care.

As the League grows and time marches on, we experience the natural transition of members for many reasons. Some players who joined in the early days of the League and stayed the course for 20 or more years, experienced a cycle of youthful exuberance; full time participation in our tournaments; developed life long friendships, and then suffered through the abnormally early loss of more than 50 of our members to AIDS and other tragedies.

As the string gets shorter and the light grows dimmer, it seems, for some, all the more important to hold onto those friendships. Paul was one Hell of a class act and he will be missed by many.

Our prayers are with him tonight. We send our love and condolences to Scott and the family and friends who shared a life with him.

With love,

Jeffrey Hersh L.A. Pool League President
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