Class of 2022
The story of The Masters Of the Bee (MOB) was told by two of the team founders, Jerome Stallings and David Love, in an article published in 2020. In the “Spice of Life”, they shared what so many have experienced through ultimate; how they fell in love with throwing the disc and, through the lessons learned in building a team and competing, gained life-long memories and friends.
The team of 13 athletes, who grew up on the urban playground playing other sports, became determined and committed to beat the best teams in the Northeast region. Jerome has shared; “the game changed our lives; we learned that we can enter any environment and be successful. Play hard and be good people.”
David Blocker, Rembert Ervin, Kenneth Hofler,
Eugene Jackson, Michael Kidd, David Love,
Ervin Riddick, James Riddick, Jerome Stallings,
Fred Stephenson, Larry Sturdivant, Timothy Taylor, and
In Memoriam – Joe Proud
David "Blues" Blocker
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: March 23, 1959 (Age 64)
David J. Blocker, an author, and a native of Connecticut, was educated at Naugatuck Valley Community College and the University of Connecticut. He also attended Hartford Seminary School where he studied scripture studies, and Yale Divinity School where he studied youth ministry. David loves to write poetry and enjoys reading Christian writings and other writing genres.
Rembert "Remy" Ervin
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: April 11, 1959 (Age 64)
Rembert Ervin, known as “Remy” to his MOB teammates, played with the team from 1981 to 1982. He grew up in Waterbury, CT and was the 4th oldest of 11 siblings with great, loving parents. Remy attended Slocum Grammar School and went to Crosby High School graduating with a degree in Allied Health. After high school, Remy worked at St. Mary’s Hospital and soon met his future wife, Roselee, and had four children.
Remy became a corrections officer and retired from that profession in 2002. The family moved to Georgia in 2006 and joined the Bethesda Cathedral of the Apostolic Faith. Remy was ordained as a Deacon in 2017 and became a facility manager in 2019.
Kenneth "Funk-K" Hofler
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: July 1, 1959 (Age 64)
In the summer of 1979, Kenny “Funk-K” Hofler, as well as several friends, were introduced to the sport of “Ultimate Frisbee” by Brian Fisher at the Waterbury Campus of the University of Connecticut (UConn). From there, Kenny went on to play ultimate for the UConn team on the Storrs Campus in his junior and senior years. Upon returning to Waterbury after graduating, he joined Jerome Stallings, along with David “Doc” Love, as a founding member of the team affectionately called The MOB (Masters Of the Bee). Kenny found that ultimate frisbee was a sport that “just fit me”, and he felt he fit into the wonderful experience with his hometown team members that became a perfect lifelong fit; “We are MOB 4 LIFE”
Kenny retired as an educator with the City of Waterbury, CT working as a paraprofessional; he was employed for 25 years helping to assist teaching autistic and special needs children in kindergarten through 5th Grade. As Kenny shared; “these children gave me hope and unlimited joy for all my years in this work”.
Eugene "Taz/Yogi" Jackson
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: June 13, 1960 (Age 63)
Fulton Park in Waterbury, CT is where it all started; from the bottom to the top of the park.
Ultimate Frisbee came into Eugene Jackson’s life thanks to Jerome Stallings and David “Doc” Love who introduced “Taz” (also known as “Yogi”) to the game in 1982. Doc and Taz played football together at Wilby High School in 1977 and both understood that extra work would make them and the team better. Jerome and Doc developed a core group of guys who were determined collectively to drill their way to winning.
During those summers, Jerome arranged scrimmages for The MOB with the guys at Pomperaug High School in Southbury, CT, at Yale’s Polo Field (Buddha Brothers), and the guys at Newington High School.
The MOB’s first tournament was in Trumbull, CT; that day cemented them as a team. After that tournament, which included a game being stopped due to a severe thunderstorm, Ultimate became the full time sport for everyone on the team. Eugene’s original nickname was Yogi; after a couple of tournaments, Kenneth “Fun-K” Hofler gave him the nickname, Taz. Funk-K gave everyone their nicknames; he was one of the MOB’s artists.
By the end of 1983, The MOB geared up for ultimate competition; they wanted to make an impression on the field of play, working hard to juggle life and ultimate competition. Their commitment enhanced their will to win with a passion.
The MOB were perennial participants in the Turkey Bowl sponsored by Cross River Ultimate Disc (C.R.U.D.) from 1982 to 1984 at John Jay High School in New York and an apple orchard in Westchester County.
The MOB and the Tourists joined as a team in 1985 and became Coast to Coast; that team reached the Northeast Regionals and was ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Eugene stepped away from ultimate for a short period and then reemerged with Doc in 1989 as the MoB Brothers. As the Brothers, Doc and Taz continued playing pickup wherever they could and played with the spirit of the MOB and would say, “we’re doing it for the MOB.”
Doc and Taz played with No Breaks out of New York City for a couple of years; those guys reminded Taz of the early days of the MOB with dedication to practice twice a week and tournament play. From the Spring of 1989 to the Fall of 1991, No Breaks became a club team to reckon with; shout out to Derrick Leigh, Rich, Adam and Tony.)
Eugene’s parents, Eugene and Ernestine Jackson, were sports enthusiasts; they inspired a passion for sports in Eugene and in his sisters, Renee’ and Tara. Eugene’s children, Christopher and Latisha, along with his granddaughter, Aliya, nephew, Tre’, and niece, Khlya, continue to be the blessings in his life.
“Playing with The MOB throughout the Northeast Region from 1982-84 were good times. We were accepted by the Ultimate Community from the first tournament up to the present time. Ultimate has played a part in every aspect of my life in some form or fashion and is always thought of as some of my best times playing an athletic sport. These days I’m walking more and running less but remain physically active. God Bless the UHoF!”
Taz works as a network engineer and loves fishing.
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: November 25, 1961 (Age 62)
Michael Kidd came home to Waterbury, Connecticut in 1984 after serving in the military. He served three years with two of those 3 years in Germany; Mike came home dealing with some personal issues.
Mike’s friend, Kenny Hofler (a friend from back then and continuing to today), told him to come with him to Fulton Park. That day, Mike met Jerome Stallings, Larry Sturdivant, and David Love and was introduced to the game of ultimate. Mike had played basketball, football, and did some gymnastics while growing up so he took to the game of ultimate pretty quickly. His natural athletic abilities came through in team practices and whenever they played games against other teams; he really enjoyed playing ultimate.
Michael has been happily married for 13 years and has been driving tractor trailers for 20 years. He tries to live his life by the principles found in God’s word, the Bible. Michael still enjoys throwing a disc which he keeps in his vehicle.
David "Doc" Love
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: January 8, 1959 (Age 65)
In the Summer of 1981, David “ Doc” Love had just graduated from Waterbury State Technical College with a A.S. degree in Chemical Engineering when he was introduced to Ultimate Frisbee. He was playing tennis and became pretty good, and won a few local tennis tournaments. One day, he stopped by Fulton Park in Waterbury, CT where Jerome “Rome” Stallings and Larry ”Pops” Sturdivant were throwing the frisbee. They told Doc to run out for a pass; he wasn’t sure if it was Rome or Pops who threw that beautiful forehand, but it was nice. Whoever threw the disc, put the disc about ten yards in front of Doc; he kept running, and the disc seemed to float in mid-air, waiting for Doc to catch it, and when he caught it, that was it! Doc gave up playing tennis and started playing competitive Ultimate Frisbee for the next ten years.
Doc was one of the co-founders of the Masters of the Bee (The MOB) and played four years with the team. What made it fun to play ultimate frisbee was that he had grown up with these dudes. Eugene “Yogi” Jackson’s family lived next door to Doc and they played on the Wilby High School varsity football team where Doc played running back and defensive back. Kenny “Funk-K” Hofler’s brother used to bring Funk-K by the house to play, and Jerome “Rome” Stallings, whom Doc has known for 58 years, did everything together beginning in the first grade and continued into adulthood.
In 1974, Jerome and Doc played on the Savelle Warriors football team, went undefeated (9-0), and were ranked the number one Pop Warner Batam Football team in the nation. Doc’s connections with the other MOB members came from playing sports or just hanging out in the neighborhood; The MOB was practically family.
The MOB’s offensive style of play was the ”give and go” with short passes, similar to the three man weave in basketball. Short passes were their best option because they had not yet learned how to throw far. Their best strategy was to throw three or four backhand passes and get the disc to Rome who would throw a bomb or the MOB would give and go all the way down the field.
Amongst the many ultimate games played by The MOB over the years, one of the most memorable times for Doc was going to New Haven, CT on Saturday mornings in the summer to play against the Buddhas. This is where Doc met Steve, Billy, and Peter Jacobs, and Jim Nelson, whom he remains friends with today.
In 1985, The MOB joined the Tourists and became Coast to Coast. As Coast to Coast, they came in fourth in the 1985 Northeast Regionals. At that tournament, Coast to Coast lost to the Boston Stranglers in a tight game, 17-15. If Coast to Coast had won that game, they would have had to play the Rude Boys; a team whose competitive success they aspired to.
Ultimate Frisbee took the MOB from the inner city of Waterbury, CT, to the suburbs of SUNY Purchase, NY, to rural Amherst at the University of Massachusetts (Zoo Mass) and to Washington DC, (April Fools Tournament). After playing with the Mob and Coast to Coast, in 1989-1991, Eugene “Yogi” Jackson and Doc played with No-Breaks, a team out of New York, NY. The love of the game continued for Doc, one summer, he played in the New York, NY summer league at Flushing Meadows for future Hall of Famer, Andy Bornstein’s team.
David Love has been promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) since 1985 while working with various community-based organizations. His dedication to STEM mentoring and education has included;
- 1985: Developed and led a STEM school/business partnership between Olin Research Center and Martin Luther King Elementary, New Haven, CT.
- 2003 – 2009: Mentored for Big Brothers Big Sisters Program in Harford County, MD
- 2003 – Present: Conducted STEM demonstrations and workshops for various organizations in MD
- 2003 – Present: Continues to promote STEM in Boston, MA, CT, and Maryland to Grades 4-6.
In 1992, David met Sharoll Williams, who he married in November of 1992. They had their first child Jamal, and in 1994, their second child, Imani. In 1999, they moved to Maryland, where he worked as a chemist for a chemical company. During the summer of 1999, David played in a summer league in Maryland where the team he played with won the summer league championship. He continued to play pickup until 2010.
While living in Maryland, David continued his education receiving a MS degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University in 2003, and in 2018, received his MS degree in System Engineering from John Hopkins University. He continues to work in the field of science as a systems engineer. He plans to retire at the end of 2025 and continue to mentor young people in STEM.
David is a Chemist/Systems Engineer and his hobby and life’s work has been to promote STEM education. He has received many awards including; the Battelle Memorial Institute – Outstanding Performance Award for Diversity and Community Outreach Program in 2006, Outstanding Service and Contribution Award from the Maryland State Department of Education in 2006, and the Black Engineer of the Year Award for “ Modern Day Technology Leader” in 2018.
Walter "Ervin" Riddick
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: December 1, 1961
Died: January 26, 2024 (Age 62)
Walter “Ervin” Riddick, originally from North Carolina, was living in Waterbury CT and fortunate to live across the street from Fulton Park; his “backyard” and the birthplace of The Masters Of the Bee (the MOB). On a summer day in 1981, Ervin saw Jerome Stallings, Larry Sturdivant, and David Love throwing the frisbee and stopped by to see what was going on. Walter knew them as friends in the community so he joined in and was introduced to ultimate frisbee. They started meeting at the park two or three a week to work on their throws and attracting other future MOB teammates to join. While Jerome, David, and Kenny Hofler introduced ultimate techniques and game strategies, something serious happened; The MOB became a team. Ervin’s most memorable times playing ultimate were the tournaments The MOB played in New Haven, CT, at SUNY Purchase, NY, and at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Ervin played for 3 years with the MOB.
In 1978, Walter met Lisa Jackson; they married in October of 1983 and had their first child, Tonya, in 1984 and their son, Calvin, in 1988. He graduated from Porter & Chester Institute in 1983 with a Certificate in Mechanical/Tool Design Drafting. In 1984, Walter began working as a Design Drafter for a major aerospace company and continues to work for that company as a Senior Design Analyst/Team Leader.
Walter mentored for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program in East Hartford High School, CT (1990- 1994) and continued to play in a pick up ultimate league at his company from 1990 through 1997 in East Hartford, CT. Walter loves saltwater fishing and fishing rod and tackle building.
James "Skeeter" Riddick
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: April 15, 1958 (Age 65)
James “Skeeter” Riddick’s relationship with ultimate started with Jerome Stallings and his first cousin, Kenny Hofler, while attending the University of Connecticut (Waterbury Branch) and playing for the Branch basketball team from 1979 to 1981. During the basketball off-season, tossing the frisbee outside developed into more than James expected. He had thought of Ultimate as some underground sport similar to soccer or freestyle frisbee. Soon Jerome, Kenny, Larry Sturdivant, David Love, and Glenn Williams were all playing at Fulton Park in Waterbury. The group grew during the summer and eventually blossomed into something bigger than they expected. James played Ultimate from 1979 to 1981 and attended a few tournaments with The MOB.
James currently lives in Waterbury with his wife, Lily, whom he married in April of 1997; they are soon to celebrate 26 years of marriage. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses and when they are not working secularly, James and his wife are in the ministry helping others to appreciate what God’s word, the Bible, has to offer for their future.
Over the years, James worked with special needs adults at Southbury Training School (1982-1986), was employed in Connecticut state government in the Corporate Division of the Secretary of State from 1986-1989, and has been employed with Travelers Insurance Company as a Litigation Paralegal for the past 33 years.
Jerome "Rome" Stallings
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: July 3, 1959 (Age 64)
Jerome “Rome” Stallings has always enjoyed playing sports. As a youth, he played CYO Basketball, Pop Warner and Bantam football, and youth baseball. In college, he played basketball at the University of Connecticut (UConn) Waterbury branch and A Level Intramural Basketball at UConn at Storrs.
In 1979, on the UConn Waterbury branch campus, Jerome saw a black guy, Brian Fisher, throwing a Frisbee with some of his friends. Brian was throwing air bounces, caught the disc between his legs, and behind his neck; his handling of the disc impressed Jerome so much, he asked to join in.
It was then that Jerome, and his childhood friend and classmate at UConn, Kenny Hofler (Funk-K), began hanging out and tossing the disc with Brian. Brian told them about Ultimate and his brother, Darius Fisher, who was an ultimate player and freestyler at the UConn Storrs campus. Jerome found Darius, also known as Fish, on the Storrs campus and was inspired to elevate his own game and play Ultimate at UConn. Due to commitments at home, Jerome was not able to play in many tournaments for UConn but he became an avid player, attended practice regularly, and worked hard to develop his talent with Ultimate.
During the next couple of summers, Jerome would take anyone who was willing to Fulton Park in Waterbury, CT to teach them how to throw the disc; all friends and family were welcome. Jerome was often joined by Funk-K and it was there that they met Larry “Pops” Sturdivant who also began to throw with them. After graduating from college, Rome really missed ultimate and continued to throw the disc in the park with Kenny and Larry; their time in the park began to attract attention from more friends who then joined in and the seeds of The MOB were planted.
Momentum picked up when David “Doctor Love” or “Doc” Love, began to participate; Doc has been friends with Jerome since the first grade. The numbers grew large enough and the consistency of attendance made it possible to put a team together. They decided to play their first tournament and The Masters Of the Bee (MOB) was born. After a few years, family and work responsibilities impacted consistent play and practice; sadly, the numbers were not enough to continue as a team. The remaining MOB teammates combined with the Tourists in 1985 to form Coast to Coast and in their first year together, won the state championship, beating the better known Dukes of Disc, also based in Connecticut. Although that combined team played for just one year, they ended the season 4th in the Northeast regional tournament.
After ultimate, from 1993 to 2005, Jerome went on to train local youth at the Waterbury, Connecticut YMCA on the fundamentals of basketball. He thoroughly enjoyed his time helping these teens to enhance their skills to play varsity level high school basketball.
Jerome met his lovely wife, Patricia, in 1979. They have two adult children, Darius, namesake of Darius Fisher, and Amanda. When they married in 1984, many of his MOB and Coast to Coast teammates were in attendance.
Jerome has worked for the State of Connecticut for the past 35 years providing support for vulnerable individuals. He and Patricia have served as foster parents for more than 26 years and continue to live in their hometown of Waterbury, CT.
Jerome is an avid photographer who enjoys taking portraits, doing street photography, and shooting sports and other events.
Fred "Fast Freddie/Spliff"" Stephenson
Hometown: Winnsboro, SC
Born: August 10, 1960 (Age 63)
Fred “Fast Freddie” Stephenson (also known as “Spliff”) was born and raised on the island of Jamaica, where football (soccer to many), cricket, and track and field were the dominant sports. In 1974, Fred migrated to Waterbury, CT to live with his mother and siblings. While at John F. Kennedy High School, he picked up his first love of track and field where he ran the 100, 200, and 400 meter sprints, the long jump, and relays. In 1978, Fred represented his school in the Connecticut State track and field meet where he earned his first nickname, “Fast Freddie”. Fred was introduced to Ultimate Frisbee when he was invited by a friend, Glen Williams, to join him and a few others at Fulton Park in Waterbury, CT in the Summer of 1981. After watching these men practicing, running, and diving after that flying disc, he was hooked. The bond and competitiveness of that sport made them more than friends; it made them brothers.
Ultimate took The MOB from Waterbury, CT to Vermont, Virginia, New York, and tournaments throughout the state of Connecticut, which is where Fred received his second nickname, Splif. Fred later became a member of a team called Coast to Coast that was formed by combining The MOB and the Tourists in 1985.
After graduating from college, Fred took a year off and then attended SouthEastern Academy in Kissimmee, FL where he studied in the Travel Industry and later worked as a Guest Services Representative.
In 1985, Fred got married and had two girls, LaKisha Williams and Shanita Stephenson. A desire to move to Virginia with his family took Fred away from The MOB and the game of ultimate. While living in Virginia, Fred started his second career in Public Safety as a corrections officer. After 10 years in Virginia, the need to be closer to family brought Fred and his family back to Connecticut. And so began his third career as a State of Connecticut employee in the Department of Disabled Services. Service to his community has always been something that Fred has held in high regard. Fred divorced in 2008 and remarried 11 years later and became a man surrounded by women as the father to four girls; Cassondra, Kendysha, Ilea, and Maisen. In 2019, Fred became seriously ill and had to retire in 2020. He currently resides in South Carolina with his lovely wife, embracing the blessings given to them. Fred has a love for gardening, cooking, and his family.
“Peace and Love to all my friends and family. MOB for life!!”
Larry "Pops" Sturdivant
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: June 20, 1953 (Age 70)
Larry “Pops” Sturdivant’s love for the game of Ultimate started much differently than his fellow MOB teammates. For one thing, he was older than the rest of the team; hence his nickname, Pops. He had learned about the art of throwing the disc long before he knew of the sport of Ultimate.
Larry’s love for the disc began in 1977 when he lived in East Hartford, CT; he and a co-worker would go to Bushnell Park daily on their lunch break and throw for their lunch hour. He fell in love with the flight of the disc and how it would float in the air; what a beautiful sight. Larry moved back to his hometown of Waterbury and just so happened to go to Fulton Park where he saw a young man throwing the disc with other younger men. Observing this got the juices flowing once again; Larry asked if he could join in. That’s when he met Jerome Stallings, who taught him about the sport of Ultimate; getting involved in this organized sport was something in which Larry was very interested. Larry had played football and ran track for Crosby High School in Waterbury where he was All City and All State. Those early days of playing Ultimate were very grueling and the training was reminiscent of Larry’s time in the armed service, but he loved it.
“The group of brothers that came together for this adventure was awesome. We felt we belonged on whatever field we went to. We were determined to prove that we could play this sport and boy what a ride we took. I was very proud to be with this group of guys and it was an experience that I will always cherish.”
Larry’s fondest memories were the traveling they did as a team; the road trips, the music, and the all-around love of the sport.
Timothy "TT/Terrible Tim" Taylor
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Born: April 16, 1959 (Age 64)
Tim “TT/Terrible Tim” Taylor lettered in basketball, football and track. He played basketball for the Waterbury State Tech Conference champions before being introduced to Ultimate. Blessed with incredible hops, leaping for a floating disc was just as exciting a slam dunk.
“Laying out to snatch the disc before it lands is a gratification few know. The experience of competing and bonding with the ultimate community has rewarded me with many fond memories. I am honored to be a member of The MOB.”
Tim lives and works in the New York City area and works as a Project Coordinator for Brookfield TSG.
Glenn "Flash" Williams
Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Born: October 28, 1960 (Age 63)
Glenn “Flash” Williams first started playing ultimate in Fulton Park in Waterbury, CT; he initially went to the park with David Love and Jerome Stallings just to watch and see what it was all about. The next time he went, he started to learn how to toss the disc and discovered it was easier than he thought but also learned that there was a lot more than just throwing and catching the disc.
Glenn started going to the park as much as possible and soon discovered that playing ultimate frisbee was addictive. Playing in his first tournament with The MOB was very enlightening; he knew that by putting in the work, he and the team would be able to play ultimate frisbee well.
After the MOBs first year, he saw that the MOB could go very far playing this game. Glenn continued playing with The MOB and then with Coast to Coast where they won the state championships. After Coast to Coast broke up, Glenn joined the new Connecticut-based team which consisted of most of the Dukes of Disc and the Tourists. Glenn continued to play off and on for a couple of years though “playing with other teams never had the same feeling as playing with The MOB”. After a while, Glenn stopped playing competitively and continued to play pick up in Rhode Island and Massachusetts every now and then during the summer.
Joe "Lick Me" Proud
Born: August 12, 1957
Died: March 3, 2021 (Age 63)
Joe “Lick Me” Proud started playing ultimate at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1976. He also ran cross country on the track team. He left Bates in 1979 to finish his education at Bridgewater State in Massachusetts where he played with the Wellesley Ultimate Frisbee Club in the Boston area. Joe moved to Waterbury, CT in 1981 and continued to play with a Massachusetts team until he met Kenny Hofler who told him about the MOB. Kenny invited Joe to play with the team and played with the MOB until they joined to form Coast to Coast.
After retiring from ultimate, Joe transitioned to disc golf and competed all over New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in field events tournaments that included distance, double disc court, MTA (maximum time aloft), discathon, and freestyle.
Joe met his future wife, Mary, at Bates College in 1978 and were married in 1983 and had two children; Sara and Joe IV. They moved to Harrisburg, PA in 1987 and returned to Connecticut in 1990; after a brief hiatus, Joe started competing in disc golf in earnest in 1995.
In addition to running a community insurance agency in Farmington, CT for over 30 years, Joe worked hard to promote disc golf. He ran dozens of tournaments over the years and went to countless town meetings to obtain support to put disc golf courses into their parks. He helped design several courses in Connecticut; most notably at Wickham Park in Manchester.
Joe was inducted as the inaugural member of the Connecticut Disc Golf Hall of Fame in September 2020 and sadly, passed away suddenly in March 2021. He was a leader, a mentor, a friend, and affectionately called the “Godfather of Disc Golf in Connecticut.”
“Joe is deeply missed by all who knew him but his memory lives on in our hearts and here at Wickham Park in perpetuity.”
Submitted posthumously by Mary Proud.