Reposted from USTA Southern California
Tennis was “his first love,” USTA Chairman of the Board and President Brian Hainline shared, quoting Anne Johnson after speaking to the wife of Franklin Johnson, who recently passed away at the age of 87. Hainline and the Southern California tennis community are mourning the loss of one of its finest in Johnson – a national champion player, observer, executive, and tireless promoter of the game the San Diego native loved so dearly. Hainline said Johnson was the one who “catapulted my understanding of and appreciation for the USTA volunteer perspective. First and foremost, Franklin loved tennis.”
Anne had never seen a tennis match until her life changed forever upon meeting Franklin, Hainline said. Both were regular fixtures in the International Box during Wimbledon, and Hainline said he didn’t believe Franklin missed a match on Arthur Ashe Stadium during the 2023 US Open.
“He watched; he analyzed; he expressed wonder; he smiled. Franklin came home following an exceptional US Open – an event, landscape, an experience that he helped to shape forever,” Hainline said.
“Franklin was an integral part of the SCTA Foundation Board and he made a huge impact on bringing positive changes in tennis to So Cal and the nation,” said Linda Milan, the Executive Director for the Southern California Tennis Association Foundation. “He loved the game of tennis more than anyone and he shared that love with all. He was a legend and will always be remembered for his contributions to the game, the SCTA Foundation and our tennis community at large.”
The following are the words of Franklin’s close friend and former colleague at USTA SoCal, Bob Kramer, who gives a detailed account of the life of service by Johnson and all he did for the game of tennis.
Kramer wrote: We are saddened to share the recent passing of Southern California tennis legend, leader, friend, and champion, Franklin R. Johnson.
For many years, Frank served as the Treasurer of the Southern California Tennis Association and became President during its most successful years in terms of growth, outreach, and development. Moreover, for many years, Frank served as the Tournament Chair of the Mercedes-Benz Cup, an ATP Tour and US Open Series event held annually at UCLA, owned and operated by the Southern California Tennis Association.
Born in San Diego, California, Frank Johnson was a champion tennis player, and was the winner of four USTA National Championships, NCAA Championships at UCLA, and was in 2011, inducted into the SCTA Hall of Fame with Billie Jean King. In 2016, he received the Section’s Henry Talbert Lifetime Achievement Award and was actively serving as a Board Member for the SCTA Foundation.
Frank Johnson served on the USTA Board for 11 years, starting with two terms as a Director at Large, followed by one term as the Secretary-Treasurer, one as First Vice President and then as Chairman of the Board and President for 2005-06. As Chairman of the Board and President, he oversaw significant strides in the landscape of tennis, from the emphasis on public parks to the renaming of the USTA National Tennis Center in honor of Hall of Famer Billie Jean King.
Frank was the Chairman of the USTA Past President’s Committee, a member of the board’s International Committee, and served on the Board of Directors of the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation and on the Executive Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He was also Vice President of the ITF and a member of the ITF Board and the ITF Finance Committee, as well as the Chair of the ITF Media Commission, and an ITF Honorary Life Counselor. Frank was also a member of the Grand Slam Committee from 2003 – 2006.
In his 10 years as a member of the USTA Board of Directors, Frank became the first-ever Chair of the Budget and Investment Committee and also served as Chair of the Compensation Committee. Prior to his commitments as the USTA Chairman of the Board and President, he was the Board Liaison to the Multicultural Participation Committee and the Advisory Group on Committees, as well as the Board Division Leader for the Professional Player Division. A former President of the USTA Southern California Section, Frank served on the Section Presidents Committee; the Finance, Audit and Evaluations Committee; and the Olympic Committee.
Frank also thrived outside tennis. He enjoyed a 36-year career with the international accounting firm Price Waterhouse LLP, serving as the Managing Partner of the firm’s entertainment industry practice. In that capacity, he oversaw the balloting for the Academy Awards for 22 years. He then served as a business consultant and expert witness for entertainment industry litigation and also served on the boards of two public companies.
Always a Bruin, Frank received a B.S. in Accounting and an M.B.A. degree from UCLA. He and his wife, Anne, who served on the boards of the Los Angeles Music Center and the California State Summer School for the Arts, were longtime Los Angeles residents, and have two children, David and Carolyn.
Frank Johnson will always be remembered for his strong leadership skills, business acumen, humility, kindness, warm smile, and ability to bring people together. Rest in Peace, Frank Johnson, a man who we loved and who served so well.
Story Credit: This story was written and originally posted by USTA Southern California. The SCTA Foundation has reposted it with gratitude.
About the Southern California Tennis Association Foundation:
We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization and is the charitable arm of USTA Southern California. The Foundation’s mission is to “Change lives and build communities through tennis.” Since 2020, the SCTA Foundation has had a community impact of giving over $1million in tennis grants and tennis scholarships to deserving youth, adults, tennis organizations, tennis facilities and tennis programs to make tennis an equal opportunity sport, accessible to all, regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, or economic background. Visit us on Social Media on Instagram and Facebook. To learn more about the SCTA Foundation go to: www.sctafoundation.org. To donate go to: sctafoundation.org/donate/ or https://secure.qgiv.com/for/sctfougivtue.