J. Howard Frazer, affectionately known as “Bumpy,” retired executive of American Controlled Industries and Past President of the United States Tennis Association, died comfortably at his home in Naples, Florida earlier this year on January 27th. He was 96 years old.
Born June 3, 1924, in Cincinnati, Ohio to the late H. Howard and Amelia Spieth Frazer, Bumpy attended Walnut Hills High School and Kenyon College. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati, where he was also conferred a Juris Doctor degree by the College of Law in 1952.
After attending a student production of an opera at UC, Bumpy was introduced to Joann McEvoy. Joann became his loving wife and they enjoyed sixty-five wonderful years of marriage.
Bumpy began his career at the family-owned H. Howard Frazer Company, where he later presided for 21 years. At the same time, he was also Treasurer and Director of the Cincinnati Transit Company which operated the metropolitan transportation system in Cincinnati, Ohio, until the city purchased it in 1973. From 1973 until 1988, Bumpy held numerous executive and board positions at American Controlled Industries and its subsidiary, Vulcan Corporation, which was a manufacturing and real estate conglomerate listed on the American Stock Exchange that had holdings throughout the United States.
He was deeply dedicated to his hometown of Cincinnati and served on many civic and community Boards. Most notably, Bumpy served as President on the Board of Directors of the Cincinnatus Association, and on the Board of Trustees for the Cincinnati May Festival, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He and Joann were also active with the Cincinnati Opera Association. Bumpy served on the Board of Directors of Tennis for Charity from 1974 until 1996.
Bumpy’s highly distinguished and nationally prominent career in tennis grew from his membership at the Cincinnati Tennis Club in the late1960s, where he became deeply involved in tennis administration. He served as the Chairman of the Western Tennis Championships in 1970, which later evolved to the world famous Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati. He ascended through the volunteer ranks of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) rapidly: He was named Chairman of the Men’s Ranking Committee, Chairman of the Sanction and Schedule Committee, and ultimately a member of the USTA Board of Directors in 1987. His USTA career culminated in rising to President and Chairman of the US Open Tennis Championships in 1993 and 1994.
His involvement in the tennis world expanded internationally. He served in various positions on the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Federation from 1993 to 1997. He served 21 years on the executive committee and 17 years on the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Bumpy excelled at every level of tennis administration. His remarkable and enduring service to the game of tennis led to numerous awards. In 1983 Bumpy and his wife Joann received the Samuel Hardy Award presented to a USTA volunteer for long and outstanding service. In 1998 he was the recipient of the ITF Award for Services to the Game. Bumpy was inducted into the Midwestern Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Greater Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. The International Tennis Hall of Fame voted him the recipient of the Chairman’s Award in 2000. Bumpy was also honored with the Golden Achievement award in 2003 and is the only American ever to receive this award.
In addition to his long and storied career at the Cincinnati Tennis Club where he served as President, a member of the Board of Trustees, and Chairman of the club’s international tennis tournament, he was also a longtime member of the Cincinnati Country Club. Bumpy and Joann were well known for producing, writing, and directing the “Cincinnati Country Club Follies.” Further, he donated the trophy, the “Bumpy Cup,” which is awarded annually to the gentlemen’s singles tennis champion at the Cincinnati Country Club. If asked to recount his proudest and most memorable tennis accomplishments, Bumpy would list the following: Co-chairing the Player Development Committee of the USTA with Arthur Ashe; being on the executive team that developed the United States Tennis Center in New York, the largest tennis facility in the world; the only Ohioan ever to be president of the USTA; honoring the volunteers of the USTA, as his volunteerism led to his tennis successes; attending Wimbledon in the Royal Box with William and Kate, Duke and Duchess, and having it memorialized in People magazine; and proudly being an honorary member of the All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club at Wimbledon.
In addition to all his accomplishments in the game of tennis and his never ending commitment and dedication to Cincinnati, Bumpy will be best remembered for his warm and gracious manner, his vibrant smile, and his friendliness toward all.
He is survived by his loving wife and partner, Joann Elizabeth McEvoy, his children John H. Frazer, Jr and Victoria S. Frazer, and his granddaughter Haley E. Fuller.
Donations in his memory may be made to the USTA Foundation, USTA Foundation, 70 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, NY 10604.
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