Obit of the Day: Tale of Two Courts
Robert J. Kelleher was a tennis legend. Captain of the U.S. Davis Cup teams of 1962 and 1963, Kelleher changed the sport forever in 1968 when when convinced every major tournament (Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open, and U.S. Open) to allow professionals to play alongside amateurs. Prior to Kelleher, “amateurs” existed in name only as they were often paid under the table - or is it net? - while professionals were shunned. For his service to the game, including a term as the head of the USTA, Kelleher was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.
Two years after transforming his favorite sport, Kelleher was appointed as a judge over the Central District of California in Los Angeles by President Richard Nixon. Kelleher would serve for 42 years, only leaving the bench when he died on June 20, 2012. He was 99 years old, making him the oldest active federal judge in the United States.
(Images: Top, courtesy of 10sballs.com via the LA Times; bottom, courtesy of foxnews.com)
Note: Judge Kelleher had an impressive run on the bench, but he still falls short of Judge Wesley E. Brown who served until he was 100 years old.