Friday, December 2nd, 1932 – Wednesday, April 17th, 2019
By Alicia Hintlian,
Passionate is a word that described and defined Vincent J. Palumbo. A man who cared deeply…to most of us he was just Vinnie at the then Packard Courts part Ring Master, Part Mayor, perhaps a little day care specialist and like Sam Malone at Cheers he was someone who always knew your name.
He wasn’t just the gate keeper to our little tennis Nirvana although yes he diligently opened the courts in the morning and as darkness fell, unabashedly signaled us to “finish up” with his booming baritone and many colorful phrases. Vinnie was much more. He was an introducer, a tennis play date orchestrator. He loved to arraign pick-up games for drop ins mixing & matching players using his awareness of abilities and temperament like a mad scientist. He was responsible for many first becoming tennis partners or opponents but ultimately friends.
He was also the enforcer of rules, court assignments, waiting lists and time limits, an unenviable and Herculean task as he was not the only passionate person down at the clays. Whether first time player, hard bitten veteran, or family; Vinnie handled us all fairly, if not always sweetly.
He coordinated the PE facility use for the many men’s and women’s spring leagues, the numerous private round robins, the Championship winning Winchester High School Boys and Girls Teams (which included many of his grandchildren) practices and matches as well as the Winchester Tennis Association’s tournaments. The WTA is a volunteer group whose mission is advocating tennis, with a Winchester focus, and aiding improvement of the Packard-Ellis courts. WTA membership regularly changes; Vinnie was the glue, the constant, helping the WTA run tournament draws & match schedules partnered with Chris Nelson and the Winchester Recreation Department to better the Packard-Ellis Courts and the Winchester Tennis Community as a whole.
Vinnie, managed it all, and did it with such conviction & personality he made the courts not just a place to play tennis, but a place where friends and families could gather and feel welcome. We were all the richer for knowing him.
Oh and he juggled an amazing & talented family; his life partner & wife Marie, 6 KIDS (5 boys and a princess) plus a wealth of grandchildren. All continue his legacy of community commitment AND love of TENNIS!!!
In 2012 the Winchester Recreation Department & the WTA, acknowledging his years of steadfast service, named Packard-Ellis’ Court Five the Vinnie Palumbo Championship Court. It is a fitting honor ensuring Vincent “Vinnie” J Palumbo’s legacy at the clays lives on.