Samuel Howe III, 84, of Philadelphia, hall of fame squash and court tennis champion, longtime investment adviser, and inspirational mentor, died Thursday, Sept. 15, of complications from an infection of a long-standing hip replacement at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Beginning in grade school and never really ending, Mr. Howe fashioned a love affair with squash and tennis that brought him national championships, four hall of fame memberships, journeys around the world, dozens of protégés, and countless friends and fans.
A wunderkind in squash and tennis at Haverford School, he was named captain of the Yale University squash team and, between 1958 and 2005, won collegiate squash titles, two national singles squash championships, six national doubles squash championships, three court tennis doubles championships, 13 masters division court tennis titles, and countless other tournaments.
In 1967, he became the only player ever to complete the North American squash grand slam by winning the U.S. and Canadian national singles and doubles championships in the same year.
He was, U.S. Squash officials said in an online tribute, a “brilliant athlete” and “strong shot-making leftwaller in doubles,” and they described his game as one of “classic, graceful strokes.” Officials at the U.S. Court Tennis Association noted his “grace and passion” in an online tribute, and a former competitor said: “He was the epitome of class on and off the court.”
Mr. Howe eventually won every squash invitational in the winter season at least once and almost qualified for the 1967 Wimbledon lawn tennis tournament. He played doubles with his younger brother, fellow hall of famer Ralph Howe, and they won three straight national squash championships from 1969 to 1971, and the 1974 U.S. Amateur court tennis doubles title.
In an online tribute, a former squash competitor recalled Mr. Howe’s “stripey socks, jaunty hats and his many needlepointed belts and cummerbunds courtesy of Dodi Fordham, his wife.”
Author Rob Dinerman said in a recent podcast: “Nothing fazed or rattled Sam. … He was a beloved figure in racquet sports, completely lacking in arrogance.” Dinerman also recently published Brothers & Champions: Ralph and Sam Howe.
Mr. Howe became an enthusiastic mentor after his playing days ended in the mid-2000s, held clinics for underserved youths and others in West Philadelphia and elsewhere, and was, U.S. Squash officials said, “an avuncular presence in the galleries at a multitude of events both large and small.”
He was inducted into halls of fame by the College Squash Association and Haverford School, and he and his brother are the only two people to be inducted into both the U.S. Squash and U.S. Court Tennis Association halls of fame. He was a longtime member and former president of the Racquet Club of Philadelphia and on boards and committees at U.S. …….