Harriet Hulbert

This is from the Houston Tennis Association Facebook page, in quotes below as is the photo: (https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=605719821596397&set=a.556218076546572). The HTA can be found at https://houstontennis.org

I knew Harriet from the National Senior Women’s Clay Court Championships held annually at the Houston Racquet Club. She was a tough but fair referee who cared deeply about the tournament and tennis. She will be sorely missed.

“Tennis lost one of its most ardent advocates this week when former Houston Tennis Association Executive Director Harriett Hulbert passed away April 6 at age 89.

And HTA members lost one of their best friends and supporters with her death.

Harriett served as executive director from 1986 until 2007, but her service to tennis preceded and extended beyond her official title.

She began her lengthy volunteer work with HTA in the mid-1970s by running junior tournament sites and serving as president for two years. After two years as assistant executive director, she assumed full responsibility for the job.

During that time Harriett volunteered with the Texas Tennis Association (now USTA Texas) for 20 plus years and received numerous awards including the HTA Sampson award, W. T. Caswell award, Tournament Director of the Year and Lifetime Achievement award from the USTA – Texas Section. She was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.

She was also a certified USTA umpire and referee.

Harriett was a fixture at the USTA Senior Women’s Clay Court Championships tournament desk at the Houston Racquet Club for many years, skillfully scheduling and managing the draws and play for the week-long event.

A “Faces in the Crowd” article in the Houston Chronicle described how her love for the game began in 1966 when as a mother of four “rambunctious children” she took up the game as a diversion.

When the family moved to Houston in 1969, Hulbert joined the Houston Racquet Club and also taught for two years in Spring Branch Independent School District. But it was not until the mid-1970s, when daughter Ann started playing competitive tennis, that Hulbert launched her lengthy tenure with HTA. She discovered that she could run a tournament site and watch Ann play simultaneously.

Emily Schaefer, current executive director, lauded Harriett’s contributions, saying “she was instrumental in the formation of the Houston Tennis Association, giving it strength to become the organization it is today. For decades, Harriett led HTA as its executive director, running top-notch tournaments from the pre-teen to the national level. So many benefited from the wisdom and experience Harriett had accumulated, and her influence will carry on far into the future.“

Former Executive Director Cheryl Hultquist, who began volunteering with HTA in 1979 and succeeded Harriett in 2007, said, “Harriett was a great mentor, and I was honored to have worked closely with her for over 45 years. I had the best teacher to learn more about Houston and Texas tennis. What a great supporter of tennis! She will always remain in my heart.”

Houston player David Hall perhaps best summed up the impact of Harriett’s presence when he met her in the mid-1980s.

“My favorite memory about playing tournaments at Southwest (Tennis Center, now Lee LeClear Tennis Center) was the smile from this older woman who checked us in. I didn’t know how important Harriett Hulbert was in the HTA universe, but I just fell in love with her. I wanted her to be my mom. LOL! Her smile and friendliness increased my desire to play more tournaments.”

HTA is grateful for the time and knowledge Harriett shared with us and extend our love and sympathy to her family and loved ones. The Harriett Hulbert HTA Scholarship Fund will be established as a memorial.”

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