Longtime supporter and former section president David Lee Hamilton passed away due to complications from cancer on June 16, 2013. Known to friends and family as “Lee,” he was president of USTA Texas from 1999-2000 and had served as the United States Tennis Association’s Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer since 2003.
As USTA Executive Director and COO his duties included overseeing the USTA’s Community Tennis, Professional Tennis, the USA Tennis High Performance business units and its multicultural initiatives. He previously served as the USTA Texas president and was a member of the section’s Executive Committee; President of the Memorial Park Tennis Association in Houston; President of the Houston Tennis Association and President of the Dallas Tennis Association. Other positions held by Hamilton included serving as Chair of the USTA’s Blue Ribbon Commission, Council Chair of the Diversity / Inclusion Committee, Chair of the USTA Communications / Marketing Division Council, liaison between USTA Board of Directors and division committees, and was Chair of the USTA Strategic Planning Committee.
“Lee Hamilton brought his on court competitiveness to the realm of working for the advancement and growth of tennis,” said Ken McAllister, Executive Director of USTA Texas. “He used determination and repetition as his weapons of choice and we all became winners because of Lee’s perseverance. Although the tennis industry misses him, we know we are stronger because of him.”
Along with decades of community service and volunteering to promote tennis, Lee was an accomplished player. In 1997 he was ranked No. 10 in the U.S. in Men’s 60 and over singles and in 1994 was ranked No. 4 in Men’s 60 doubles. In the Texas section, he was ranked as high as No. 2 in singles and No. 1 in doubles in his age division.
Hamilton earned his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Bucknell in 1957 then served two years in the Army on active duty in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He then began his 34- year professional career with Esso Oil, which later became Exxon, holding senior management positions including Vice President Esso Europe and as Vice President at Exxon Company International. After his retirement from Exxon, he served as Executive Vice President of OHM Corporation, an environmental services company.
He then earned his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. He credits his Exxon assignments in Texas that led him to tennis. Hamilton served on Bucknell’s Board of Trustees since 1984 and was Chair from 2001-03.
He is survived by his wife Molly, of 53 years. Both Lee and Molly are considered tennis zealots and continuously shared their passion of tennis. They resided in Dallas and in New York and have three sons (David and Drew of Dallas, and Bryan of Hinsdale, Ill.) with seven grandchildren. Lee’s mother Peggy recently celebrated her 100th birthday last April while his father Art passed in 2007.
In recognition of his numerous contributions to the sport of tennis both as a volunteer and as an officer, Lee was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame and was a member of the USTA’s Major Wingfield Society.