» News

Remembering Marie Robertson

May 9, 2021 04:38 PM

Remembering Marie Robertson 1927 - 2020


Marie Robertson, one of the founders of the Wyoming Tennis Association and the Wyoming Youth Tennis Foundation, passed away in February 2020.  Longtime tennis friend Suzanne Gulley celebrates the woman who many consider to be the mother of Wyoming tennis with this tribute.




Remembering Marie Robertson

by Suzanne Gulley

Mary Jo Scott was the initiator of the Marie Robertson Travelling Trophy.  Mary Jo thought Marie deserved to be recognized for all she had done for Wyoming tennis.  She also knew Marie would be privileged to be the one to recognize those who contribute selflessly to Wyoming tennis and its growth. Marie chose many of the honorees and each one was given the award  at a dinner that was traditionally held during a tournament.  The person receiving the award was unaware and revealed by Marie through a presentation that spoke of that persons’ contribution, character and achievements. I was honored to be one of the recipients.

Without Marie Robertson there would have been no Wyoming Tennis Association or WYOTA.  Marie, Bob Ranck of Jackson and Dennis Rafferty of Cheyenne were the original organizers of WYOTA.  They wrote the original by-laws and set the standards by which WYOTA would operate.  They were precise and deliberate with these proceedings.

Marie was a very generous lady with her time and talents.  She meticulously did all the rankings and ratings for WYOTA, before many of the computer programs were simplified.  She would spend hours working at this and reams of paper printouts and then ask the rest of us on the board to look at them and give suggestions.  I can tell you from experience it was a challenge!

She led board meetings with a precisely prepared agenda, all having to do with promoting and growing tennis.  She brought in a very competent E.D., Sheri Carlisle.  She had worked with Sheri on the Girl Scouts board and knew her to be a capable person to be included in WYOTA.

She ran the Wyoming Open (which is no more) for several years with help from volunteers such as Bill Hambrick, Bill Vance, John Logan and many others who returned year after year to help. Those were the days when tournaments were all run without any computer program.  Everything was done by hand; entries, money collections, t-shirt sizes, draws,  scheduling, large hand printed draws and contacting players with times and locations. There could be as many as 150 players registered to play.  It was a very time consuming and not an easy task. (That’s how I learned to run tournaments).  Then after the tournament there were the draw sheets to be filled out in quadruplicate to send to the different entities connected to the tournament, such as USTA National, Intermountain, WYOTA and the local club.  Tournaments were a complicated, precise and time-consuming event at that time.

Marie was a very active participant in tournaments.  She played a great game of singles (I was a victim many times) and played well into her 60’s.  Marie very seldom lost her serve.  I don’t know what she did to the ball, but it was a difficult serve to return, and I can tell you I was on the receiving end many times.  She also played doubles, I partnered with her in several events.  She supported all the sanctioned tournaments in the state.  She was a promoter of the Volvo Tennis when it started in Wyoming, now know at USTA team tennis.  For several years she was the District Coordinator-all before computer programs.  She was a team captain and took a team to Nationals at the senior level.  Our team was so new at all of it we didn’t even realize we could win if we won our last match, which we did.

Marie was generous with her knowledge and always willing to share it.  She was also always willing to acknowledge a person’s accomplishments and achievements.

In all the years I knew Marie I can’t think of a time when she spoke badly of anyone and she had opportunities as we all do.  She had a way of getting someone to think things through logically or of finding a compromise.  She had a way of cocking her head, looking at you and saying, “let’s think this through”.

She was a mentor unknowingly by her example, her attitude, her wisdom and calm demeanor.

Marie was not only a tennis person, but she also served on the board of the Girl Scouts, she supported her husband, Rob, and his “Cheerful Charlies”, participated in Viva la Joie, a ballroom dance group and she was a great cook!

She shared her home both in Casper and Jackson with her friends, teammates and tournament participants. Many good times were had at the Robertson households.

Marie loved tennis and Wyoming benefitted from that love.  All in all, Marie was special in many ways and I was lucky and privileged to call her friend.


Click here to view Marie Robertson's obituary