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


Jane Brown Grimes, who as one of many uncommon girls executives in tennis in her time modernized the International Tennis Hall of Fame, ran the rule-making physique of ladies’s tennis and was president of the United States Tennis Association, died on Nov. 2 at her dwelling in Manhattan. She was 80.

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

“Jane did everything behind the scenes,” (*80*) Evert, who gained 18 Grand Slam singles titles, stated in an interview. “She didn’t crave attention and quietly went about her work. Not a lot of women tennis players know what she did, because she was under the radar.”

In 1989, Mrs. Brown Grimes, as managing director of the Women’s International Professional Tennis Council, which ruled girls’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 girls, to Kraft General Foods. Both had been owned by Philip Morris (now the Altria Group).

Anti-tobacco activists, in addition to some gamers, had for years demanded that girls’s tennis transfer on from its tobacco sponsorship, the monetary spine of the tour for the reason that early Seventies, to 1 that promoted a more healthy life-style.

“Jane was a very strategic, intelligent leader, and she was clear that the council had to move away from tobacco,” stated 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 gained 132 titles in her profession, acknowledged in an interview that “there were no apologies for Virginia Slims being a sponsor.” But, she added, “By the time Jane was in a key position to make a change, she made it happen.”

Jane Trowbridge Gillespie was born on Jan. 20, 1941, in Freeport, N.Y., on Long Island. Her father, Samuel Hazard Gillespie, was a litigator who served because the United States lawyer for the Southern District of New York from 1959 to 1961. Her mom, Ruth (Reed) Gillespie, was the pinnacle librarian at the Collegiate School in Manhattan.

In her youth, Jane performed on her grandparents’ clay tennis courtroom on Long Island and frequently attended the United States National 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 Court, Tony Trabert and Maureen Connolly.

“They were my movie stars,” she informed The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., in 2009. “They were my idols.”

She studied historical past at Wellesley College 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.

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

After leaving to affix the ladies’s tennis council, Mrs. Brown Grimes returned to the Hall as president in 1991 and stayed by 2000, overseeing the acquisition of tennis memorabilia vital to the Hall’s historic mission and persevering with the renovations.

She was elected to the board of the United States Tennis Association in 2001 after which rose by its ranks to change into volunteer chairman and president in 2007. The second girl to carry that place, she served by 2008. During her two-year tenure she significantly championed youth packages and was concerned in the usT.A.’s acquisition of the Western & Southern Open.

“Jane was one of the few who paved the way for other women to have leadership roles in tennis,” Ms. Worcester stated.

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

In addition to 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 ended in divorce, and her marriages to Ames Brown and Charles Grimes ended with their deaths.

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

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

“When it was over and the U.S. had won, Martina was given a big microphone and started her speech in English, but within about 10 seconds she switched into Czech and the place went nuts,” Mrs. Brown Grimes stated in an interview with Steve Flink of this yr. “Her mother was sitting in front of me, and down a ways, and she was in tears.”

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