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Moreland Park Tennis Center named for late Bob Smith

May 22, 2022 | 12:07 am

Updated May 21, 2022 | 4:46 pm

Saturday afternoon Owensboro Parks and Recreation unveiled and renamed a memorial sign for late Owensboro native Bob Smith at the Moreland Park Tennis Center.

Smith grew up across the street from Moreland Park and would practice countless hours and eventually start leagues out of the park’s courts. While growing up, he played tennis at Owensboro High School, Western Kentucky University. He went on to coach tennis at Arkansas State University before returning to Owensboro as a coach at Apollo High School.

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He would continue to be heavily involved in the tennis scene in Owensboro before passing in November of 2020.

For his eldest daughter Debbie Hill, to be able to name her father’s childhood court in his honor was extremely humbling.

“He’s going to be honored and recognized for so many years of playing tennis over here giving thousands of lessons, coaching and playing himself,” Hill said.

The proposal to give the courts a name came from Smith’s family along with the Owensboro Daviess County Tennis Association Board for approval and has been a learning experience for her since.

Learning about the width of her father’s impact beyond the court and also helping make the first team at Brescia University has been one of the best parts of the process.

Kerry Bodenheimer, Recreation Superintendent for Parks and Recreation, said seeing the honor for Smith has been great especially given she knew him before he passed.

The department recently updated the policy behind naming properties after figures and with the name change she felt it was even more fitting for Smith to be honored for his contributions to the city.

“I think [Smith] just really showcases the volunteer spirit that we have in our community and helps people see “yes you are honored, we know you, we will recognize you and we thank you for your work,” Bodenheimer said.

May 22, 2022 | 12:07 am

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