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L. Charles DeVoe

L. Charles "Chuck" DeVoe

Born in Indianapolis March 18, 1930, passed away peacefully at age 83 on December 28, 2013 after a 3 month battle with Melanoma cancer. He will be greatly missed by family, and by his worldwide network of friends.

Chuck enjoyed a full and successful life. He met his life companion, Jody, at age 15 in dancing class. They married at age 22, and enjoyed 61 - 1/2 years of marriage, friendship, travel and adventures.

Chuck excelled in all things athletic. He was the oldest of 3 brothers - all athletes - and a nationally ranked junior tennis player. He also played basketball and football at Park School.

Chuck attended Princeton University, where he was part of the great class of 1952. While there, Chuck captained the basketball team and was named to the All Ivy League team. He also played tennis. Chuck never lost a singles or doubles match in the three years he played varsity tennis at Princeton.

After Princeton, Chuck served in the Korean War as a second lieutenant in the artillery branch of the U.S. Army. In Korea, he helped build a basketball court on the frozen ground on which he and other officers played games against other military units.

Chuck returned home and joined the family business, the L. M. DeVoe Company (manufacturer's representatives in the electronic industry). His professional life exemplifies his entrepreneurial spirit. He helped many start their own businesses, and helped his son Michael acquire and develop the Portage Point Inn in Onekama, MI.

Meanwhile, Chuck continued his pursuits and successes in tennis and basketball. In tennis, Chuck went on to win 11 Indiana State men's championships. He played in the U.S. Clay Court tournaments held in Indianapolis annually into his 40s, including a memorable win over #3 nationally ranked Charlie Paserell when Chuck was 36.

In 1965, Chuck joined forces with his brothers John and Steve and others to found the Indianapolis Racquet Club, the first indoor tennis facility in Indiana.

At age 47, with Jody's encouragement, Chuck started playing the Senior Tennis circuit and enjoyed great success into his early 80s. He played matches in 17 different countries. He played on 20 U.S. Cup teams, winning 8 international titles. Chuck won 67 U.S. senior age group national titles (25 singles and 44 doubles); 13 European titles (5 singles and 8 doubles); and 3 World doubles titles. Chuck held the US #1 senior doubles ranking for 11 straight years, and was ranked #1 in senior singles in the US 4 different times, and #1 in the ITF at least once. This tennis success allowed Jody and Chuck to travel extensively, and to embrace a worldwide network of friends. Chuck was inducted into the Midwest Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.

In 1967, Chuck was a founding owner, along with his brother John and other investors, of the ABA Indiana Pacers. Chuck served as President of the Pacers for 8 years, prior to their entry into the NBA. During Chuck's years of involvement, the Pacers were the most successful ABA franchise, winning 3 ABA Championships, and appearing in 5 ABA finals.

Chuck was a man always on the move. Sitting still was never an option. He was a fierce competitor in every arena of life - and he was always gracious whether he won or lost. Chuck embraced and championed diversity in sports, and the diversity that brought to the rest of society. His physical presence will be missed dearly, but his wonderful spirit and drive will live on to continue to inspire others. "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." Thomas Campbell.

Chuck is survived by his wife, Jody; his only surviving brother, Stephen E. DeVoe; his daughter Anne Lawler (Bainbridge Island, WA, husband Brian); sons Michael (Onekama, MI, wife Jane) and George (Indianapolis, wife Deidre); 7 grandchildren (Evan, Cameron and Patrick Lawler; Annie and Teddy DeVoe; and Ben and Andrew DeVoe); 1 great granddaughter (Lola Joy Lawler); and numerous sister and brother in laws and nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Leslie M. and Edna DeVoe, and his brother John C. DeVoe.

Private services will be held. Friends and family are invited to attend a Celebration of Chuck's life at Woodstock Club on Sunday, January 12, 2014 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the NJTL (National Junior Tennis League).


Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Dec. 31, 2013
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