Memories of Sylvia Fong
“What a gift Sylvia was to the Saanich Tennis Club.”
Sylvia was a Founding Member of the Saanich Tennis Club, along with others who met while taking tennis lessons from Gordon Hartley at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre. They enjoyed the game and the company so well they decided their own club was the surest way to continue playing with compatible people.
Sylvia was a true gentlelady, summed up well by Barb Yeoman, who stated:
“Sylvia made all most welcome by her BIG smile and friendly manner. She had a knack of engaging other volunteers to help the Club.”
She ensured that everyone was welcomed and treated like a friend from the first moment. Both competitive and social events were equally a focus for Sylvia’s activities, usually accompanied by a quantity of food – never too little! Even when she played no longer, Sylvia would always appear at Club socials with flowers for a bouquet and a range of food offerings.
Sylvia Stirland, often “the other Sylvia’s” doubles partner, recalled her devilled-egg sandwiches and her “always there” gentility. Louise Mason called Sylvia “the ideal Club member”, the “glue” of STC. Dr. Fred Carr recalls Sylvia as “a very good Club member.”
The Meaghers met Sylvia when we arrived in 1986. As others found when first in her company, Sylvia made us feel entirely welcome and ensured we met others prepared to invite us into the fold – from which we have not fled. Why would we?
Perhaps the best testimonial to Sylvia came from Grania Litwin:
“What a gift Sylvia was to the Saanich Tennis Club.
She was the heart and soul of gatherings there, whether on the court during hot summer competitions, or observing from the deck while sharing a cuppa. Always charming, warm and friendly — to old and new members alike — she was endlessly light-hearted and encouraging.
Sylvia was the first friend I made at the club more than 20 years ago, and we spent many a convivial Sunday morning together trading salvos, backhands and recipes.
It was a great loss when she left us, but a winning stroke that she will be with us forever through this tournament.”
Every club would do well to include a “den mother” of Sylvia’s quality.
Prepared by M. and B. Meagher, with help from those quoted above, and others coaching from the sidelines. April 2015