Robert Emmet Bradley Jr., 70, operated area tennis camps

March 07, 2000|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Robert Emmet Bradley Jr., a Baltimore-area tennis professional and part-owner of the city's short-lived professional tennis team, died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at his home on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. He was 70.

A resident of Roland Park until he moved to South Carolina last year, Mr. Bradley ran area summer camps for junior players for 17 years.

"He really loved the game, and he was very dedicated to junior players," said David C. Iglehart, a tennis professional at the Suburban Club in Pikesville.

As a high school tennis player more than 30 years ago, Mr. Iglehart taught tennis at Mr. Bradley's camps with other top teen players who went on to teach professional tennis. "He grabbed us out of the junior ranks and basically taught us how to teach," Iglehart said.

In 1973, Mr. Bradley was part of a group that purchased a World Team Tennis franchise from Phoenix, Ariz., that featured No. 3 ranked player Jimmy Connors on the squad. Named the Baltimore Banners, the team folded after one season at the Civic Center because ticket sales were lower than expected.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Mr. Bradley graduated from Loyola High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in Washington in 1952, and his master's degree in psychology from Loyola College in 1972.

After graduating from Georgetown, Mr. Bradley worked as a stockbroker with the former John C. Legg Co. until 1962. For the next 12 years, he worked as a social studies teacher in three Baltimore City schools: the former Woodbourne and Canton Junior high schools and Samuel Gompers Vocational School.

Mr. Bradley worked as a tennis professional during summer breaks from school, and held his first jobs teaching tennis at St. Timothy's Tennis Club and Greenspring Valley Hunt Club in Garrison.

In 1967, the U.S. Tennis Association hired Mr. Bradley to start a program at what now is Towson University, called the Gold Cup Center, to develop junior tennis talent.

At the urging of parents whose children participated in the Gold Cup Center program, he started the Bob Bradley tennis camps in 1969 at St. Timothy's School in Brooklandville. During the next 17 years, he expanded the camps to two other sites: Garrison Forest School in Reisterstown and Villa Julie College in Stevenson.

In 1979, after he stopped teaching tennis, Mr. Bradley became a salesman with Macke Laundry Co. of Beltsville. He retired in 1985.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at Shrine of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, 5800 Smith Ave. in Mount Washington.

He is survived by his wife of 32 years, the former Virginia Calvert Ball; a daughter, Margaret Fesenmeier Bradley of San Francisco; a sister, Elizabeth Bradley Whitaker of Chevy Chase; and a brother, Richard Lee Bradley of Baltimore.

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