When Bill and Ruth Warner moved their family of seven kids to Parkersburg in 1960 there were only a few unusable tennis courts in the county. Bill and Ruth were convinced that tennis was a good sport for all ages. They felt the city of Parkersburg would profit from having good courts and a thriving tennis program.
So they worked to bring their dreams to reality. Many of their new friends in the community joined them in the effort. They got the city to build asphalt courts, organized the Mid-Ohio Valley Tennis Association and started programs for all. Their children enjoyed playing the game, teaching it and competing in various tennis tournaments. Dan Warner still teaches and organizes tennis programs from his home in Florida. Don Warner's son, Bryce, played on the PHS and Jackson teams several years ago. Susy Darm of Oregon, Doug Warner of Tennessee and Marti Kuhn of Kentucky still play for enjoyment.
Jim Snider, sports editor for The Parkersburg News in the 1960s, played a major role in supporting tennis by providing coverage for the programs and matches. The community was playing tennis by 1961.
Yesterday I watched the county middle school tennis tournament at City Park. My wife, Barbara Warner Olson, and I thought back to those early days. Barbara directed a junior high league on the new courts in 1961. The tennis courts have been expanded and well maintained through the years. Our son, Jeff Olson, is a tennis coach for the Jackson Middle School Girls Tennis Team. Our granddaughter, Alexandra, is No. 1 on the Jackson girls team. She finished in second place in the tournament.
We are all very proud of the work of the Warners and appreciate the tennis legacy they left to all of us. Many people shared in this original effort and through the years they are all keeping the dream of sportsmanship alive.