The Dr. Rabe Tennis Club of Leavenworth recently lost its longtime President, Ethan Potter.
To the editor:
The Dr. Rabe Tennis Club of Leavenworth recently lost its longtime President, Ethan Potter. Potter was the last surviving member of the original Rabe tennis group that started playing tennis in 1954 at the Leavenworth Country Club. Some of the original members were Dr. Melvin Rabe, J.V. Oliver, Dr. Ralph Atchison, Spike Meyer, R.B. Whitaker, Don Spratt, and Jimmy Snyder. In the mid-60s, Dr. Rabe purchased a house on South Broadway and built a tennis court in the backyard. These players continued to meet three times a week to play tennis on this new court. In the mid-80s the group moved out to the courts in David Brewer Park where more courts were available and more players started playing. Mr. Potter continued to play up to age 78 when he had a knee replacement. Potter continued to come out to the courts with a new joke or story to pass on with the players and he would watch from the sideline and he did this up to within a few days of his death.
Potter was a true tennis ambassador for Leavenworth. Potter played in tournaments and won tournaments in Lawrence, St. Joesph, Kansas City, and at the Barrybrooke Racquet Club.
Potter was known for his sharp play, knowing when to lob and when to drop shot his opponent. He was also a very fair player and always a gentleman on the court. In the first official city tennis championships Potter at over 50 years of age was part of the winning men's open doubles team. He also won the 40 and over singles title a couple of years. Potter 10 years ago started a tradition at the Leavenworth Labor Day Open of passing out old pennies dated around 1900 to the tennis entries.
Potter also helped pay for some tennis lessons so some Leavenworth High School players could receive professional instruction at the Barrybrooke Racquet Club. One year he paid for a quick resurfacing job of the tennis courts before the annual Labor Day tennis tournament. Ethan is going to be missed by not only the local tennis players but by many people in the city of Leavenworth. Everyone who knew Potter had a great respect for this wonderful man.