Carole C. Graebner | By Nancy Gill McShea
Carole Graeber quietly blazed the trail of the “modern woman” before it was fashionable. While Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem were urging women across the country to take control of their own lives in the 1960s and ‘70s, Carole had already taken that quantum leap into the evolving future. A future characterized by unprecedented complexity and opportunities in women’s lives.
In the summer of 1959 at the tender age of 15, Carole emerged from her sheltered childhood in Santa Monica, California and traveled East to compete in the international tennis arena for the first time. The adventure would impact her life-it would lead to world-class tennis stardom in the 1960s; the luxury of financial independence in her teens; the joy of raising her two children, Cameron and Clark; and the eventual transition to a successful business career in 1976.
Beginnings often shape one’s destiny. Carole says her mother Berniece and grandfather (John Joseph Keefe, alias “Gramps) provided good moral fiber and helped her to grow into a strong independent woman. And they supported her first step in that direction-tennis.
To ease the loneliness of being an only child in a neighborhood with few children, Carole invented her own brand of tennis by hitting against the garage door of her Spanish-style home. “I had one of those old wooden paddles with a rubber ball attached to it,” she explains. “I stole a tennis ball from a dog down the street and used the paddle to create design games (similar to tick-tack-toe) on the door. I would target particular spots, like hitting cross court or down the line. I got so good at it, Gramps said it was about time I had strings. He bought me a wooden racquet for $2 and I branched out to the tennis courts across the street. I was 10.”
Gramps signed her up for free clinics on Saturdays and she played in her first junior tournament at 11. “I lost 6-0, 6-0,” Carole says, recalling the humiliation with some amusement now. “I was so mortified I burst into tears. But Gramps insisted there was no reason to cry, that I had nothing to be ashamed of, that the girl was clearly a better player. He said if playing tournaments and risking losing were going you make me cry, then we shouldn’t do it. He said, ‘What do we need to do?’ I said I guess I’ve got to practice, and then maybe I’ll win.”
She became a regular on the Southern California junior circuit and was a member of the local Junior Wightman Cup team with, among others, Billie Jean Moffitt (King), Eastern’s Jana Hunsaker, and Karen Hantze (Susman). In that landmark summer of ’59, Carole and five other members of the squad debuted on the Eastern summer circuit. The highlight of Carole’s trip East was her acceptance into the women’s draw at the U.S. National Championships. She lost her first-round match to No. 4 seed Sally Moore 9-7 in the third set, but she was ecstatic.
“That summer changed my life," she says. “I was like a star gazer. Margaret DuPont had invited us all to her home in Wilmington, Delaware to practice on the estate’s indoor and outdoor courts. I realized what her trophy room represented-not just wins and losses-but interaction with hundreds of people, visiting incredible places around the world, learning to appreciate great art treasures and understand the deeper meanings of history and life. It was so appealing I wanted a piece of it. And I realized it would require a total commitment.”
Carole returned to California and reality. “I went back to school and played tennis all the time,” she says. By 1962 at age 18, she was self-assured and traveled alone to Europe to play Wimbledon. She was sponsored by the Santa Monica Recreation Department, but had saved enough money working nights at J.C. Penney (for $1.25 an hour) to buy her own luggage for the trip, plus a brand-new car.
Her celebrity status was rising rapidly now, and she was asked to be the tennis hostess at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She played regularly with Hollywood stars like Katharine Hepburn, Sam Goldwyn, and Sydney Janis of New York’s famous Janis Art Gallery (who introduced her to abstract impressionism through his private collection of Jackson Pollack). Her impressive tennis resume carried such clout, her clientele tipped her $50 to $200 an hour.
Carole was ranked No. 4 in the world in singles in 1964, the year she reached the final of the U.S. Nationals, and a year later she captured the U.S. National and Australian doubles titles with Nancy Richey, earning the world’s No. 1 doubles ranking. She also won gold and bronze medals at the 1963 Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The trivia buff will note that Carole and Richey set the record for the longest match in women’s doubles at the 1964 Eastern grass courts, recording 81 games in a 31-33, 6-1, 6-4 winning effort. Carole joined Billie Jean and Darlene Hard to win the first Federation Cup match ever played, at the Queens Club in London in 1963. In addition, she posted a 12-1 record in 10 Federation Cup appearances, played for the Wightman Cup team from 1963 to ’71, and is the only woman who has doubled as player/captain for the Federation, Wightman and Bonne Bell Cup teams.
Today, Carole brings her vivacious personality to the daily repartee of business. One of her clients and friends, Jim Baugh, the general manager and vice president of Wilson Racquet Sports, says, “We’ve always looked at Carole as part of our family. And we laugh about the only family feud we’ve ever had-getting her off the T-2000 racquet (she only plays with Wilson). Nobody loves the sport, and what it really stands for, more than Carole.”
Carole is vice president/national advertising director of Tennis Week, chairman of the United States Federation Cup, vice chairman of the U.S. Wightman Cup and a member of the U.S. Olympic committee. She has also been affiliated with many sports media outlets and corporations over the years (including Sports Illustrated and World Tennis magazines, ABC’s Wide World of Sports Radio, Madison Square Garden Cable Network), for whom she has worked as a tennis color commentator for television, and spokesperson and lecturer.
Tennis Week’s publisher and editor-in-chief Eugene L. Scott, who toured on the summer tennis circuit at the same time Carole did, and who was also her lawyer, witnessed the transitions in her life. “It is interesting to note that this year’s inductees have an all too-rare combination of tennis and business skills,” Scott points out. “Carole Graebner has moved with grace and facility from the playing field to the field of business. In Carole’s case, neither is a Field of Dreams but instead a veritable meadow of reality.”
Does Carole Caldwell Graebner believe she’s missed out on anything? “Yes, I wanted to be a song leader in high school at football games,” she sighs, “part of the group of girls who marched together with the band, twirling batons and carrying flags. My tennis denied me that opportunity. I was heartbroken! And in my next life I assure I will do it.”
Photo Credit: Steve Berman
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Francis T. Hunter | By Nancy Gill McShea
Frank Hunter was right out of the “roaring twenties” in New York, a handsome charming man about town, a wonderful fellow to be around. He was also one of the earliest tennis players to combine a prosperous business career with international notoriety in tennis.
Born in 1894 in New Rochelle, NY, Frank exhibited a zest for adventure typical of that age. After he graduated from Cornell in 1916 (where he captained the men’s tennis team), he immediately left the States to serve as a Lieutenant Commander aboard the U.S.S. New York with the British fleet in the North Sea during World War I. He returned to civilian life and became a business entrepreneur. During the next decade he operated three coal mines in West Virginia, controlled a fleet of cargo steamships, and founded the New Rochelle Standard Star newspaper. By 1929 he owned and published an entire chain of Westchester County newspapers. All the while, he was a contender among the world’s top four tennis players.
On the tennis court, Frank was a burly, aggressive player with great determination. He relied on a forehand that was rated among the more powerful in the game. Although his backhand was mainly a defensive stroke, and he danced around it to hit the forehand, his fighting spirit carried him through to many victories. Frank announced his arrival on the world tennis scene at the USTA Indoor Championships. He was the Indoors singles champ in 1922, and was runner-up to Vinnie Richards in ’23 and ’24. But it was in Paris in 1924 that he emerged as a tennis hero, when he and Richards teamed up to earn the last U.S. Olympic gold medal for tennis until the game was reinstated as a medal sport in 1988.
The record shows that Frank was ranked among the top 10 U.S. singles players five times from 1922 to ’29 (ranking second behind Bill Tilden from ’27-’29). At the U.S. National Championships, he won the doubles title with Tilden in 1927; and was twice a singles runner-up, losing in five sets to Henri Cochet in ’28 and again in five sets to Tilden in ’29. At Wimbledon, he was a singles finalist in 1923, captured two men’s doubles titles (with Richards in ’24 and Tilden in ’27), and two mixed doubles crowns (with Elizabeth Ryan in ’27 and Helen Wills in ’29). He was also a playing member of the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1927-’28. In 1930, he repeated as the Indoor singles champ, his last amateur title before turning pro; and he later ran the first professional tennis exhibition in Madison Square Garden, featuring Ellsworth Vines and Fred Perry. Frank was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1961.
Cliff Sutter, who was inducted into the ETA Hall of Fame in 1991, and who crossed paths with Frank on the tennis circuit, says, “Frank Hunter had bulldog determination on the tennis court…What a forehand! And he was a man of great charisma who lived life to the hilt. The last time I saw him, he was lounging comfortably on the porch of the Meadow Club in Southampton entertaining the crowd. That was so typical of Frank. He had been a successful, wealthy man before the crash of ’29 (I knew he was wealthy because he always traveled with a trainer, Bill O’Brien) and he would rise again after the crash with ‘21’ Brands.”
Indeed, through his connection with the Westchester Embassy Club in Armonk, NY, Frank became friends with Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns (of New York’s famous ‘21’ Club). After the repeal of prohibition in December of 1933 Berns left ‘21’ and he and Frank founded ‘21’ Brands, Inc. An importer and distributor of wines and Ballantine Scotch, the company became famous worldwide. Frank served as president of ‘21’ Brands until 1963 and afterward was on the executive committee.
An accomplished sportsman, Frank roamed the world on hunting and fishing expeditions: from shooting bears in Alaska, to safaris in Africa and India. The walls of his New York penthouse were completely covered with the trophies he brought back from his adventures-lions, tigers, birds and fish…and silver tennis cups. In 1962, the B’nai B’rith Sports Lodge in Manhattan honored him as its “Citizen of the Year.”
Frank Hunter’s daughter, Barbara Taylor, remembers her father as a warm, friendly pal, someone with a great sense of humor. “Everybody loved him,” she says. “He cared about others and was so generous, he helped many a needy family and friend anonymously.”
Francis T. Hunter died in Palm Beach, Florida on December 4, 1981. He was 87 years old.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sheila Shcwartz
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David R. Markin | By Nancy Gill McShea
David Markin commands instant recognition as a man of prominence in the complex worlds of international tennis and Fortune 500 corporate business. Outside the competitive arena, he is married to the former Suzan Schnell; and he is the father of three children-John, 22; Christopher, 20; and Maggie, 17.
One longtime associate says, “Because he is committed in so many different directions, David might appear to be a man of contradictions on the surface. He is indeed complex. He is very witty, extremely generous, and has a real sense of community and family. For example, his schedule is impossible, yet he finds time to communicate almost daily with his three grown children who are off in the different directions now. He is intolerant of mediocrity, yet he displays an unbelievable patience for those trying to over come it. And of course his love of tennis amazes us all.”
One of the most effective and accomplished volunteers in the sport of tennis during the past 35 years, David is the immediate past president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and past chairman of the US Open. His current responsibilities include chairing the U.S. Davis Cup committee and serving on the International Tennis Federation’s Davis Cup committee. He is also the overseer of the new US Open project, an ambitious plan that he says will upgrade the event into the “world’s finest Grand Slam tournament.”
This past March, David was honored with the 1991 USTA Samuel Hardy Award at the Association’s annual meeting in Amelia Island, Florida for long and outstanding service to the game. Prior to his term as USTA president, he had served as first vice president, second vice president, and secretary. He was chairman of the Junior Tennis Council and the Boys’ Junior David Cup committee, as well as the Boys’ 14 and Men’s 35 ranking committees. On the sectional level, he was president of the Western Tennis Association, among other titles, and he served as assistant referee and referee of the USTA Boys’ 18 and 16 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan for the past 25 years.
One USTA executive and colleague sums up his contributions succinctly: “David’s been rather unique in the tennis world, aware of the political needs, aware of business demands, and having the willingness to fully commit to accomplishing his responsibilities. He doesn’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. He goes to that place himself.”
In business, David is president and chief executive officer of International Controls Corp. (ICC), a Fortune 500 corporation; and president and chairman of the board of Checker Motors Company, based in Kalamazoo. Since his affiliation with Checker dates back to 1953, David was ready to assume the leadership role for the largest taxicab manufacturer in the country in 1970 when he was 39 years old. He took the reins as Checker’s president, led the company through its expansion from 200 to 1200 employees, from manufacturing a single product to becoming a major supplier to the automobile industry.
In 1982 Checker halted production of the world-famous Checker taxicab and has since focused on expanding the auto supplier business. In 1989, David and three other investors gained control of ICC, which now owns Checker Motors and all it subsidiaries. In addition to running the facility in Kalamazoo, his business activities include operation taxicab fleets and running an insurance company in Chicago, and traveling to subsidiaries located in Savannah, Georgia and South Charleston, West Virginia.
According to those in his inner circle, David thrives on the multiple challenge of serving tennis and managing his private business interests simultaneously. To do it effectively, he surrounds himself with competent, loyal and organized people.
Although David is a native of New York City, his tennis roots can be traced to his youth in Great Neck, Long Island, where he was a member of the high school tennis team (he still refers to himself as the kid from Great Neck who first fell in love with tennis at Forest Hills). He later played tennis at the Cheshire Academy in Connecticut and at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois before making his permanent home in Kalamazoo. He has held national rankings in the various age categories throughout the past 35 years in both singles and doubles. Yet some of his peers claim he’s an even better tennis teacher than he is a player. He helped coach a Kalamazoo high school team to two Michigan State Championships; chaired to YMCA Tennis Excellence program for juniors there; and has given hundreds of free tennis lessons to aspiring young players. Many of his former students continue to correspond with him throughout college and into the adult ranks, thanking him for his help in coaxing them to reach their potential.
All who know him agree that David Markin’s dedication to developing U.S. tennis players is matched only by the great satisfaction he derives in working with America’s largest volunteer organization, the United States Tennis Association.
Photo Credit: Steve Berman
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Sam Shore | By Nancy Gill McShea
Sam Shore is “A Man For All Seasons.” The seasons of life. He celebrated his 86th birthday March 22nd, and toasted his wife Jessica on their 50th wedding anniversary April 17, surrounded by their children, Annabelle and Edward, grandchildren and friends. Shore loyalists will share yet another milestone with him this evening, his induction into the ETA Hall of Fame.
The gentleman stands tall and trim, a vision in Wilson tennis white, his thick silver hair framing an easy smile and twinkling blue eyes. His brisk stride clearly sends a message-Sam Shore is a man of determination who meets life’s challenges with dignity, grace and style. Tennis is a large part of the equation.
Since joining the Eastern tournament circuit 63 years ago in 1929, he has been a presence not only the section, but also nationally and internationally. According to Seena Hamilton, 1990-’91 ETA Hall of Fame chairman, Sam captivated the European tennis set with his talent, charm and sportsmanship, and collected a series of international 65-and-over trophies when Hamilton invited him to be a part of the American team at the 1973 Los Montero’s Senior and Veterans International Tennis Tournament in Marbella, Spain.
Sam has been nationally ranked since 1972. Of the 10 USTA national titles he has won, his most recent victories include the 80-and-over clay court singles and doubles crowns in 1987, and the 80s’ grass court doubles championship in 1988, which he shared with his ETA partner Ed Tarangioli. A rookie in the 85s’ division in 1991, he was a doubles finalist at the clay courts. In addition, he is a former vice president of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and past president of the Eastern Professional Tennis Association. He won the USPTA Player of the Year Award in 1982, 1983 and 1988.
Everyone who knows him understands that Sam’s real achievement goes beyond his many tennis titles and awards, even those won in his eighties. His ling love affair with tennis and spirited interaction with people have been so infectious, he has inspired the same love of the game in countless young children, advancing juniors and adults of all ages and skill levels-most notably at his own popular club, Shore’s Tennis in Port Washington, NY, from 1948 to 1978; at ETA clinics at Central Park in New York City and Hempstead Lake on Long Island in the 1940s; and the Port Washington Tennis Academy since the late 1970s.
“Sam is a national treasure,” says his friend Lois Prince, ETA vice president and chairman of the sections’ Junior Tennis Council. “I have known him for many years, and no matter what his accomplishments-and they are many-he is always there for the little guy, especially kids. He is one of a kind.
“Shore’s tennis was ‘the place to be’ on Long Island for many years,’ Prince continues. “That’s where all the action was because Sam’s spirit and energy are contagious. When he would say, ‘Come on girls. I’m coming out on the court with you.’ It was the highlight of their day.”
Sam grew up in New York City between Madison and Fifth Avenues on 105th Street when tennis didn’t qualify as a neighborhood game. He played all the street sports, rooted for baseball’s New York Giants, and quit football when he was beaned on the head. In 1929, he ventured onto a tennis court for the first time. A member of the Wall Street firm he was working for asked him to join a tennis game in Brooklyn, and he was hooked.
“That day is my fondest recollection of tennis,” he says. “To think that I could take this racquet and hit the ball wherever I wanted it to go stunned me. I never stopped trying to play after that.”
The year 1929 also marked the beginning of the depression, a reality which ironically thrust Sam into a career in tennis. By 1931, he was working nights as a linotype operator for the Daily News, and spending his days teaching tennis at Vinnie Richards’ indoor courts at the 71st Regiment Armory. He continued juggling the two careers until 1956 when he retired from the News and devoted himself exclusively to teaching and playing tennis.
Sam is nothing short of a wonder to the thousands of junior players who stream in and out of the Port Academy every year. One junior recalls, “Every match I ever played at Port, Sam was there. I used to sneak in a few extra minutes during the warm-up. But he was always aware of my allotted time. I’d hear him walking toward my court and he’d say, ‘Start taking serves.’ Then he’d walk to the next court and tell the players they had only three minutes left. It was unbelievable. It was like he had 13 separate clocks in his head-one for each court.”
On court, he is something else. Kids love to test him by whipping forehands at him unmercifully, but power doesn’t faze him. He effortlessly scoops up the ball, returns it with his own mustard and flashes that famous smile as his young opponents stand in awe. Perhaps just as famous as the smile is the “Shore Shuffle,” the small quick steps he takes to scoot back to the baseline after winning a point.
In a recent piece about him in Long Island’s Newsday, sports columnist Steve Jacobson asked a rhetorical question” “…You don’t know Sam Shore? Almost everybody who’s held a tennis racquet around here knows Sam…”
Photo Credit: Steve Berman
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