Honoring the Life and Legacy of Steve Henry
Steve Henry was one of the most passionate ambassadors the sport of tennis has ever known. His unexpected passing on March 21, 2023 left a massive void throughout USTA Missouri Valley. One needs to look no further than his Celebration of Life on March 31, 2023 to see just how big of an impact Steve had on everyone he touched.
Friends from across the section, and even the country, showed up to pay their respects to Steve and the Henry family. The overarching theme of messages from attendees was how important Steve was to tennis. He touched every aspect of the game, from his role at Oklahoma City Tennis Center to his various volunteer roles within USTA.
Following his retirement from General Motors in 2006, Steve rededicated his life to tennis. He began a second career in 2007 when he accepted a position running Earlywine Tennis Center before accepting the position as the Facility Director of Oklahoma City Tennis Center in 2009.
Steve was incredibly active on multiple levels of tennis from his district up to the section level. He ran a handful of local and national tournaments each year, but his pride and joy was the Oklahoma High School State Tennis Championships. It's one of the biggest tennis events in the state of Oklahoma each year and Steve stopped at nothing to make it an incredible experience for each player involved.
"Our section and district are definitely in a better place because of Steve," said USTA Oklahoma Executive Director David Minihan. "His loss will be felt throughout the country in the tennis industry as he was instrumental in growing the game through organizations such as USTA and USPTA. He impacted many lives as a father, coach, volunteer, leader and mentor. He will be missed."
Even with everything Steve did on the tennis court, his impact will be greatly missed off of it. He was a loyal and dedicated volunteer to the USTA. He began his service way back in 2008 when he joined the USTA Oklahoma Board of Directors. He continued his service from there up until his passing this year. After 16 years of volunteer service, he achieved one of his lifelong goals of serving as USTA Missouri Valley president beginning in 2023.
He has also served two-year terms on three separate national committees: Junior Team Tennis, Junior Competition and Adult League. Those three appointments sum up Steve's service perfectly. He wanted to serve every level of competition that he could, from juniors up to adults.
His commitment was also evident in the tournaments he hosted and ran during his time at Oklahoma City Tennis Center. He was the tournament director for more than 100 USTA tournaments at Oklahoma City Tennis Center, including adult and junior district, section and national tournaments, along with multiple Pro Circuit events.
Steve's impact cannot be overstated and his loss will be felt across the tennis world. The heartfelt tributes at his Celebration of Life are a perfect reflection of the hundreds of lives he touched throughout his life. Our thoughts are with the entire Henry family as they mourn his loss.