John's Pew

10/19/2020 10:26 AM | Anonymous

The nine sparkling new tennis benches and the volunteers who assembled them were highlighted in a recent newsletter. Also mentioned was the one vintage bench which Bob Flor beautifully refinished to match the color of the new ones.

What is the history of the unique solid wood memorial bench located on Court 5 and pictured below?

John and Shirley Williams moved to the Leslie Beach Club neighborhood in 1969 and immediately became members. "John was passionate about playing tennis," states Shirley as a primary reason for joining. He liked playing singles, later moving more to doubles and ALTA league play. A 1978 City Champions sign is displayed on Court 5 celebrating the team on which John was a member.

John became a shining example that tennis can be a lifetime sport, playing well into his 70's before having to stop for medical reasons. Even then, he continued to enjoy watching his friends play.

When John died (9/23/1931 - 8/22/2009), Shirley wanted to make a gift to the club as a tribute to him. After conferring with his many tennis buds, particularly the senior men who traditionally played on Court 5 every Saturday and Sunday morning during the 1990's and early 2000's, she ultimately decided on a memorial bench. Nick Grossman found the perfect one and added an inscribed brass plaque.

Shirley had tried to persuade John to attend church with her on Sunday mornings, but he usually ended up meditating with his congregation of senior tennis friends on Court 5. When his memorial bench was placed on the court, those friends gathered to celebrate his life, swap stories, pray, and scatter some of John's ashes. Fittingly the bench now continues to serve as a pew in John's Church of Court 5 for all LBC tennis players to enjoy.

Leslie Beach Club - 2539 Leslie Drive, Atlanta, GA 30345

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