American Veteran 01

Ted Phillip Withall

November 20, 1918 ~ August 8, 2019 (age 100)

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Ted Withall was born on November 20, 1918 in El Paso, TX to Sam and Katy Withall.  It was just nine days after the end of World War I when his father was discharged from the Army and he moved his family back to California.

Ted Withall was a man of many talents.

His high school athleticism led him to college sports where he not only pitched for the Freshman baseball team in his hometown at San Diego State College, but he also became the No. 1 player on the Freshman tennis team.

After four years at San Diego State, Ted transferred to the University of California at Berkley. After earning his B.S. degree and before he put in a year of graduate studies, Ted took the time out to proudly serve his country from 1942 to 1946 as a member of the United States Air Corps.

His talent and love for tennis opened the door to a life-long career when he began to teach tennis to celebrities in and around Beverly Hills. 

Ted’s other love was greatly influenced by the Big Band Era.  He performed in local night clubs and on Hollywood Studio Radio shows were he entertained audiences with his gift of song.

In 1947, while at the famously romantic Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Ted met the love of his life.  It was love at first sight, when Ted spotted a beautiful young woman, Helen Garey (from Big Bow, Kansas)  walking into the ladies powder room.  He boldly followed her inside and the rest is history!  They were married just ten days later, a marriage that would last for 70 years. Helen passed away in 2017 at the age of 93.  Ted missed her dearly over the last two years.

From 1951 to 1956 Ted’s career took him to upstate New York where he succeeded Pancho Segura (Ranked No. 1 in the World in 1950) as the tennis pro at the Concord Hotel where he taught during the summer months, while teaching in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands during the winter months.

During this five-year period, Helen and Ted welcomed two beautiful daughter’s to the world…Robin in 1952 and Lisa in 1955.

Ted and Helen moved to Boca Raton, FL in 1957 where Ted succeeded Fred Perry at the Boca Raton Hotel & Club where he was the residing tennis pros for 13 years.

Subsequently, Ted worked at the Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, New Jersey from 1960-1969 in the summer months. He left the Boca Hotel for the Tennis Club in Fort Lauderdale because it presented a new concept in tennis clubs: condos surrounding tennis courts!  He then went to the Beach Club in Palm Beach during the mid-70s for several years. He was offered a vice presidency at the indoor Tennis Club of the Palm Beaches and was also Head Pro at the St. Andrews Club in Gulf Stream, Florida.

Ted joined the USPTA in 1950 and was President in 1972. He was also the first President of the Florida PTA and was among the first group of members to be honored as a Master Pro. He was also the first member to be inducted into the Florida PTA Hall of Fame. He has been a member for 64 years.

Ted’s busy work life brought him to many interesting places where he made lasting friendships on and off the court.  His strong work ethic, his attention to detail, and his competitive spirit are instilled in and remembered by the many tennis players who were lucky to have been mentored by Ted.

His inspiration and guidance greatly influenced his own grandchildren, with his eldest grandson, J.J., following in his footsteps as an accomplished tennis pro and his youngest granddaughter, Erin, a talented singer. 

Ted peacefully passed away on Thursday, August 8 at the Boca Raton Hospice, with his loving daughter, Lisa, by his side.  Ted was fortunate to have such a devoted daughter caring for him over the last few years of his life. He is survived by his daughters Robin Cox and Lisa McCusker, his grandchildren J.J. McDonough and Erin McCusker, and his greatgrandchildren Kane and Van McDonough.


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