November 30, 2021

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Jane Brown Grimes, a Uncommon Feminine Pressure in Tennis, Dies at 80

Jane Brown Grimes, a Rare Female Force in Tennis, Dies at 80

Jane Brown Grimes, who as one of many uncommon ladies executives in tennis in her time modernized the Worldwide Tennis Corridor of Fame, ran the rule-making physique of girls’s tennis and was president of the US Tennis Affiliation, died on Nov. 2 at her residence in Manhattan. She was 80.

The trigger was most cancers, her daughter, Serena Larson, mentioned.

“Jane did all the things behind the scenes,” Chris Evert, who received 18 Grand Slam singles titles, mentioned in an interview. “She didn’t crave consideration and quietly went about her work. Not a variety of ladies tennis gamers know what she did, as a result of she was underneath the radar.”

In 1989, Mrs. Brown Grimes, as managing director of the Ladies’s Worldwide Skilled Tennis Council, which ruled ladies’s tennis, headed talks that led to a change in title sponsorship of the ladies’s tour — from Virginia Slims, a cigarette model marketed to ladies, to Kraft Common Meals. Each had been owned by Philip Morris (now the Altria Group).

Anti-tobacco activists, in addition to some gamers, had for years demanded that ladies’s tennis transfer on from its tobacco sponsorship, the monetary spine of the tour for the reason that early Nineteen Seventies, to at least one that promoted a more healthy way of life.

“Jane was a really strategic, clever chief, and she or he was clear that the council needed to transfer away from tobacco,” mentioned Anne Worcester, who was director of worldwide operations for the Virginia Slims collection and succeeded Mrs. Brown Grimes because the council chief in 1991.

Pam Shriver, who received 132 titles in her profession, acknowledged in an interview that “there have been no apologies for Virginia Slims being a sponsor.” However, she added, “By the point Jane was in a key place to make a change, she made it occur.”

Jane Trowbridge Gillespie was born on Jan. 20, 1941, in Freeport, N.Y., on Lengthy Island. Her father, Samuel Hazard Gillespie, was a litigator who served as the US legal professional for the Southern District of New York from 1959 to 1961. Her mom, Ruth (Reed) Gillespie, was the pinnacle librarian on the Collegiate College in Manhattan.

In her youth, Jane performed on her grandparents’ clay tennis courtroom on Lengthy Island and recurrently attended the US Nationwide Championships at Forest Hills, Queens — the precursor to the U.S. Open — together with her household. She reveled in watching stars like Althea Gibson, Margaret Courtroom, Tony Trabert and Maureen Connolly.

“They had been my film stars,” she instructed The Information Journal of Wilmington, Del., in 2009. “They had been my idols.”

She studied historical past at Wellesley Faculty in Massachusetts and obtained a bachelor’s diploma in 1962. After working as a truth checker for Life journal after which for a documentary filmmaker, she joined the Manhattan workplace of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1977.

Beginning as an occasion planner, she grew to become a fund-raiser earlier than rising to govt director of the Corridor of Fame in 1981, a put up she held till 1986. Working primarily from its Manhattan workplace, she helped increase cash to rehabilitate buildings on the Corridor, in Newport, R.I., and was the director of tournaments held on its grounds.

After leaving to hitch the ladies’s tennis council, Mrs. Brown Grimes returned to the Corridor as president in 1991 and stayed through 2000, overseeing the acquisition of tennis memorabilia critical to the Hall’s historical mission and persevering with the renovations.

She was elected to the board of the US Tennis Affiliation in 2001 after which rose by means of its ranks to turn out to be volunteer chairman and president in 2007. The second lady to carry that place, she served by means of 2008. Throughout her two-year tenure she significantly championed youth packages and was concerned in the united statesT.A.’s acquisition of the Western & Southern Open.

“Jane was one of many few who paved the way in which for different ladies to have management roles in tennis,” Ms. Worcester mentioned.

Mrs. Brown Grimes was inducted into the Corridor of Fame in 2014.

Along with her daughter, she is survived by her sons, Jim Schwarz and Ames Brown; her brother, Sam Gillespie; and 5 grandchildren. Her marriage to Marshall Schwarz resulted in divorce, and her marriages to Ames Brown and Charles Grimes ended with their deaths.

Ever curious, Mrs. Brown Grimes continued her schooling nicely into her later years. She earned an M.B.A. diploma from Baruch Faculty in Manhattan in 2012, then used her data of tennis to earn a grasp’s diploma in worldwide relations from the College of Cambridge in 2015.

Her thesis was in regards to the 1986 Federation Cup match in Prague, which marked Martina Navratilova’s return to her homeland for the primary time since defecting to the US in 1975 from what was then Czechoslovakia. Mrs. Brown Grimes had attended the match.

“When it was over and the U.S. had received, Martina was given a giant microphone and began her speech in English, however inside about 10 seconds she switched into Czech and the place went nuts,” Mrs. Brown Grimes mentioned in an interview with Steve Flink of Tennis.com this yr. “Her mom was sitting in entrance of me, and down a methods, and she or he was in tears.”

When she died, Mrs. Brown Grimes had almost completed her dissertation in historical past at Cambridge — about ladies’s tennis throughout the Open period, after tournaments had been open to professionals and never simply amateurs in 1968.

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