William T. RATHBUN

  • "He and his wife were our neighbors for many years on Vassar..."
    - Jeff Nawrocki
  • "We will miss you"
    - Warner Gallagher
  • "I will miss Uncle Bill's stories of old, stories about his..."
    - Katie Beverstock
  • "A sweetheart of a person who made my entree into Toledo..."
    - Alan Messer
  • "I only just met Mr. Rathbun 3 years ago when I first joined..."
    - John Guy

RATHBUN William T. William T. Rathbun, of Toledo, OH, died on May 16, 2012, at the age of 95. He was born in Toledo on July 31, 1916, to George Jay Rathbun and Mollie Taylor Rathbun. He was a graduate of University School of Cleveland, OH, and in 1938 from Cornell University at Ithaca, NY In April of 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and was separated with the rank of Captain in 1946. He served with the Air Service Command of the 9th Air Force in England, France, and Germany for more than two years. From 1948 to 1968, Bill was an executive with the Rathbun-Jones Engineering Co. in Toledo, a company founded by his father and Samuel (Golden Rule) Jones, to produce small diesel engines for the oil industry. In 1968, he joined the Champion Spark Plug Co. as an engineer with their Impact Cutoff Service in Toledo. In 1971, that business was sold to the Hammill Manufacturing Co. of Toledo, and he remained with the Impact operations of Hammill in Toledo for over 37 years. Bill was perhaps best known for his dedication to the sport of tennis. He became a member of the Toledo Tennis Club at the age of 13 in 1929, the year the club moved to its current location in Ottawa Hills, and he remained an active player until the age of 94. He served as club president for many years. In 2006, the clubhouse porch, a gathering place for players and visitors, was named the Rathbun Porch in his honor. Encouraged by his father, he first played tennis at the age of 10 and two years later won his first tournament at Lafayette College Courts in Easton, PA. He also was a member of the tennis team at Cornell. He won many USTA tournaments, including many as a senior, over a period of more than nine decades. Also active in United States Tennis Association affairs, he served for many years as executive secretary of the Northwest Ohio Tennis Association and also was director of many tennis tournaments in Northwest Ohio over the years. Bill and his friend Sam Allen co-authored a unique history of tennis, "Tennis in Toledo," following the sport from its early years to its publication in 1993. Preceding him in death was his wife of 46 years, Jane McIIwain Rathbun, who shared with him a dedication to tennis. Surviving him are his nieces, Kay Foster of Maumee, OH, Virginia De Hermosillo, of Mexico, Martha Santiago, of New England, Elizabeth Nader, of California, Susan McClatchey, of California and their families; his nephew, Warner Rathbun of Venezuela, and Edith Rathbun, of Toledo, friend and cousin-in-law. A memorial service will be held at Park Church, 1456 Harvard Boulevard, on Sunday, May 20, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. There will be no visitation. Memorial contributions may be made to the Toledo Tennis Club Preservation Fund, c/o Toledo Tennis Club, 4330 Indian Road, Ottawa Hills, OH 43615; to Park Church, 1456 Harvard Boulevard, Toledo, OH 43614; to Hospice of Northwest Ohio, 30000 East River Road, Perrysburg, OH 43551, or to the . Arrangements through Walker Funeral Home, 419.841.2422. Online condolences may be sent to the family at walkerfuneralhomes.com

Published in Toledo Blade on May 17, 2012
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