Amy Yee Tennis Center (Seattle) opens on September 15, 2002.

  • By Mary T. Henry
  • Posted 5/06/2011
  • Essay 9817

On September 15, 2002, a huge crowd celebrates at the Seattle Tennis Center (2000 Martin Luther King Way S) as the facility is renamed the Amy Yee Tennis Center in honor of a local tennis champion and teacher. For more than 30 years, Yee offered free tennis clinics for young people and adults at schools and public parks. Known to be patient and kind, she embraced would-be players regardless of class, ethnicity, sex, or age.

A Fitting Memorial

When Yee died on August 14, 2000, there was a flurry of petitions calling for the tennis center to be named for her. The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department has a policy that does not permit a person's name to be placed on one of its facilities until two years after the death of the individual. Although there were efforts to have the policy waived for the tennis center, the department followed its rules. The name of Walter Hundley (1929-2002), a former superintendent of Parks and Recreation, was the only other considered.

While hundreds in attendance watched on a fall day two years and one month after Yee's death, Mayor Greg Nickels (b. 1955); Kenneth Bounds, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent; and Kyle Yee cut the ribbon at the entrance. Mayors Norm Rice (b. 1943) and Charles Royer (b. 1939) were among the speakers. A portrait of Yee by local artist Stuart Moldrem was unveiled. It was a joyous day for the Chinese community, for lovers of the sport, and for her former students and her family.

Tennis Anyone?

There are tournaments in Amy Yee's name held each August for juniors and each September for seniors. The Amy Yee Scholarship Fund, founded by her in 1990, sponsors the tournament and offers a free tennis camp as well as scholarships to fund equipment and additional training for promising young players. Associated with the Seattle Parks and Recreation, it is a nonprofit organization receiving all funding through private donations. 

The Amy Yee Tennis Center has 10 indoor courts and six unlit outdoor courts. There is an array of instructional programs offered: private one-hour lessons, adult group six-week sessions, tiny tots six-week sessions, and junior group six-week sessions. The center is open daily year round except for major holidays. The pro shop in the main lobby offers racquet stringing and regripping. Until a few years ago, a mural by Andrew Chinn (1915-1996) hung in the lounge at the facility.

Sources: Amy Yee Celebration Program, September 15, 2002, in possession of the Wing Luke Museum, Seattle; Kenneth R. Bounds to Yee Family, August 29, 2002, archives, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation; 2011 Facility Information, Amy Yee Tennis Center, Seattle Parks and Recreation; City of Seattle Resolution 26425, Seattle Municipal Archives.

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