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

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Jane Brown Grimes, who as just one of the exceptional women executives in tennis in her time modernized the Worldwide Tennis Hall of Fame, ran the rule-building system of women’s tennis and was president of the United States Tennis Association, died on Nov. 2 at her household in Manhattan. She was 80.

The induce was cancer, her daughter, Serena Larson, claimed.

“Jane did all the things powering the scenes,” Chris Evert, who received 18 Grand Slam singles titles, claimed in an job interview. “She did not crave awareness and quietly went about her work. Not a whole lot of women of all ages tennis gamers know what she did, since she was under the radar.”

In 1989, Mrs. Brown Grimes, as handling director of the Women’s Worldwide Professional Tennis Council, which governed women’s tennis, headed talks that led to a alter in title sponsorship of the women’s tour — from Virginia Slims, a cigarette model promoted to females, to Kraft Basic Meals. Equally have been owned by Philip Morris (now the Altria Team).

Anti-tobacco activists, as very well as some gamers, experienced for many years demanded that women’s tennis shift on from its tobacco sponsorship, the economic backbone of the tour considering that the early 1970s, to one that promoted a more healthy lifestyle.

“Jane was a extremely strategic, intelligent leader, and she was clear that the council experienced to go absent from tobacco,” reported Anne Worcester, who was director of around the globe functions for the Virginia Slims sequence and succeeded Mrs. Brown Grimes as the council chief in 1991.

Pam Shriver, who won 132 titles in her occupation, acknowledged in an job interview that “there were no apologies for Virginia Slims staying a sponsor.” But, she added, “By the time Jane was in a critical situation to make a alter, she made it take place.”

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 United States attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1959 to 1961. Her mom, Ruth (Reed) Gillespie, was the head librarian at the Collegiate College in Manhattan.

In her youth, Jane played on her grandparents’ clay tennis court on Long Island and frequently attended the United States Countrywide Championships at Forest Hills, Queens — the precursor to the U.S. Open up — with her household. She reveled in observing stars like Althea Gibson, Margaret Court docket, Tony Trabert and Maureen Connolly.

“They have been my motion picture stars,” she instructed The Information Journal of Wilmington, Del., in 2009. “They were being my idols.”

She studied history at Wellesley College or university in Massachusetts and obtained a bachelor’s diploma in 1962. Right after working as a point checker for Existence magazine and then for a documentary filmmaker, she joined the Manhattan office environment of the Global Tennis Hall of Fame in 1977.

Starting as an occasion planner, she grew to become a fund-raiser prior to increasing to executive director of the Corridor of Fame in 1981, a post she held until 1986. Performing generally from its Manhattan workplace, she assisted increase funds to rehabilitate buildings at the Hall, in Newport, R.I., and was the director of tournaments held on its grounds.

Right after leaving to sign up for the women’s tennis council, Mrs. Brown Grimes returned to the Corridor as president in 1991 and stayed through 2000, overseeing the acquisition of tennis memorabilia important to the Hall’s historic mission and continuing the renovations.

She was elected to the board of the United States Tennis Affiliation in 2001 and then rose as a result of its ranks to develop into volunteer chairman and president in 2007. The next female to keep that posture, she served as a result of 2008. Through her two-yr tenure she specifically championed youth packages and was involved in the U.S.T.A.’s acquisition of the Western & Southern Open.

“Jane was a person of the handful of who paved the way for other females to have leadership roles in tennis,” Ms. Worcester reported.

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 five grandchildren. Her relationship to Marshall Schwarz finished in divorce, and her marriages to Ames Brown and Charles Grimes ended with their fatalities.

At any time curious, Mrs. Brown Grimes continued her instruction perfectly into her later on decades. She acquired an M.B.A. diploma from Baruch School in Manhattan in 2012, then used her expertise of tennis to make a master’s diploma in worldwide relations from the University of Cambridge in 2015.

Her thesis was about the 1986 Federation Cup event in Prague, which marked Martina Navratilova’s return to her homeland for the initially time considering the fact that defecting to the United States in 1975 from what was then Czechoslovakia. Mrs. Brown Grimes experienced attended the tournament.

“When it was around and the U.S. had received, Martina was offered a massive microphone and begun her speech in English, but within just about 10 seconds she switched into Czech and the spot went nuts,” Mrs. Brown Grimes claimed in an interview with Steve Flink of Tennis.com 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 experienced approximately finished her dissertation in heritage at Cambridge — about women’s tennis all through the Open up period, just after tournaments had been open up to experts and not just amateurs in 1968.