January 28th, 2015

Tampa Tennis Coach, Advocate Jeryl “Jerry” Townsend Passes

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Tampa tennis leading lady Jeryl “Jerry” Townsend passed away at the age of 82 last week at her home in Tampa, where she resided since 1957.

“Jerry was one of the first managers of the Hillsborough Community College Tennis Complex, was the HCC women’s tennis coach, and a Tampa tennis legend in the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s,” said friend Alan Williams.

After coming to Florida to play tennis at Rollins College, she stayed to coach the Hillsborough Community College tennis team from 1976-1981. She eventually became the supervisor of the tennis facility at HCC, retiring in 1998.

“I have fond memories of Jerry and all the efforts she made to grow tennis over the years in the Tampa community,” said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth.

Townsend learned tennis from her father, legendary tennis coach Edwin Faulkner, who was the former No. 5-ranked player in the world and died in 1987. He was one of the founders of the USPTA in 1927, and coached the U.S. and French Davis Cup teams in the 1920s. “He was the coach of the team I was on in ’64, and I have very fond memories of Ed,” the late Arthur Ashe told the Orlando Sentinel. “He was both a friend and a coach to every member of the team.”

In 1954 Townsend married Julius Charles “Bummie” Townsend, III, who preceded her in death, in Louisville. She is survived by four children, two sons and two daughters who live in Tampa and Bradenton.

A memorial service will be held Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, with a reception to follow in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church.

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