Remembering Linda Curtis: Past USTA Florida Foundation Executive Director & Tennis Advocate
USTA Florida is saddened to learn of the passing of former USTA Florida Foundation Executive Director and tennis advocate, Linda Curtis at the age of 68.
She was born on February 16, 1955 in South Carolina, before moving to Cape Coral and becoming a community leader for the tennis community. In 1998, she started volunteering with schools and Junior Team Tennis in the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network in Lee County.
Linda was extensively involved with her community as the USA Team Tennis Rallyball Coordinator. Her efforts earned her Junior Team Tennis Coordinator of the Year in Florida and was nationally recognized as Rallyball Coordinator of the Year in 1999.
These events led her to be hired by the USA Tennis Florida Staff, now known as USTA Florida, to focus on building Community Tennis Associations (CTAs) and became one of the four original Community Coordinators. Her role as Community Coordinator was focused on helping local volunteers grow the game of tennis.
In this role she guided the founding of Charlotte County Community Tennis Association in 2000, and it grew to become a very successful CTA. During this time, Linda also started coaching high school tennis as well as teaching her two daughters the sport.
From Tennis in the Parks to CTAs, Linda continued working with the organization and grew as a leader in the tennis community. She fell in love with helping Special Olympics athletes as well.
In 2004, the USTA Florida section started to introduce the Foundation, and Linda quickly became passionate to make it successful.
One of her biggest accomplishments came from working with the Foundation. In 2008, Linda, with former USTA Florida Presidents and Foundation Presidents, Jean Mills and Celia Rehm, went to Tallahassee to advocate for the Play Tennis License Plate, which would be passed by state legislature. Linda took the lead in getting the license plate started and would travel around the state to promote it.
Other work with the Foundation includes Linda leading the Share the Love movement, which was when the USTA Florida Board approved $500,000 to be awarded to the Foundation to give out in grants to help with the housing financial crisis.
This led Linda to become extremely involved with the Foundation side of the organization and her hard work paid off as Linda became the Executive Director of the USTA Florida Foundation in 2012.
Soon after this, Linda pursued and accomplished receiving her CAE credentials as a Certified Association Executive, which is a very difficult task. Linda was determined as ever and was able to achieve this in the last few years of her employment with USTA Florida.
Sadly, Linda was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2016, causing her to step down from the Foundation and organization, ending nearly 20 years of working and volunteering for both.
During her time as an employee, Linda's heartstrings were always tugged back to the athletes in the Special Olympics sector. She loved donating her time and awarding grant money toward these athletes to help them achieve their tennis dreams and local program organizer's goals.
Linda peacefully passed away on April 26, 2023. She will be remembered through her two daughters, Lauren and Kristen, and her three grandchildren.
USTA Florida staff members who had the opportunity to work with her described her with a heart of gold and a smile that made everyone feel loved.
If you would like to make a donation in Linda's memory, please visit ustafloridafoundation.com/donate or click the button below. All proceeds will be put back into the Florida tennis community.