BOCA RATON — Ted Withall was born on Nov. 20, 1918, in El Paso, Texas, to Sam and Katy Withall. He died Aug. 8 at the Boca Raton Hospice, at age 100.
He was born 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 at San Diego State College, in his hometown, but he also became the No. 1 player on the freshman tennis team.
After four years at San Diego State, Mr. Withall transferred to the University of California at Berkeley. After earning his bachelor’s degree and before he put in a year of graduate studies, he took the time out to serve from 1942 to 1946 as a member of the United States Air Corps.
His talent and love for tennis led to a lifelong career when he began to teach tennis to celebrities in and around Beverly Hills.
Mr. Withall’s other love was greatly influenced by the big-band era. He performed in nightclubs and on Hollywood Studio radio shows where 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 Mr. Withall spotted a beautiful young woman, Helen Garey (from Big Bow, Kansas), walking into the powder room. He boldly followed her inside and they were married just 10 days later — a marriage that would last for 70 years. Helen died in 2017 at the age of 93 and Mr. Withall missed her dearly over the last two years.
From 1951 to 1956 Mr. Withall’s career took him to upstate New York, where he succeeded Pancho Segura (ranked No. 1 in the world in 1950) as tennis pro at the Concord Hotel, where he taught during the summer months. He taught in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, during the winter months.
The couple gave birth to daughters Robin in 1952 and Lisa in 1955 and moved to Boca Raton in 1957. Mr. Withall succeeded Fred Perry at the Boca Raton Hotel & Club and was the residing tennis pro for 13 years. He 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 and 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 head pro at the St. Andrews Club in Gulf Stream.
Mr. Withall joined the U.S. Professional Tennis Association in 1950 and was president in 1972. He was also the first president of the Florida PTA and was among the first members to be honored as a master pro. He was also the first member to be inducted into the Florida PTA Hall of Fame.
Mr. Withall’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 remembered by the many tennis players who were lucky to have been mentored by him.
His inspiration and guidance greatly influenced his grandchildren, with his grandson, J.J., following in his footsteps as an accomplished tennis pro and his granddaughter, Erin, a talented singer.
He is survived by his daughters, Robin Cox and Lisa McCusker; his grandchildren, J.J. McDonough and Erin McCusker; and his great-grandchildren, Kane and Van McDonough.
— Obituary submitted by the family