By CLAUDE SCILLEY
Jenny Ellis has watched friends inducted into the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame.
“I’ve always sort of thought, ‘Wouldn’t that be wonderful,’ but I never thought it would materialize,” she said.
Tuesday night at City Hall, it materialized for Ellis, who was one of five new members introduced as a 2015 inductee into the local hall.
“I’m thrilled,” she said, “overwhelmed, actually. It’s just about the greatest honour I’ve ever experienced.”
Hall of Fame members Cookie Cartwright, Annabelle Twiddy, Neil Neasmith and Anne Turnbull are contemporaries of Ellis, who was selected to the hall on the basis of her prowess on tennis and squash courts and the golf course.
Among her achievements, Ellis won both the women’s singles and doubles titles at the Jack Campbell Memorial Tennis Tournament seven times in 11 years, 1979-89. She won a silver medal at the 1979 national squash championships.
Still active as a golfer, she’s a six-time women’s club champion at Garrison, most recently in 2012, though she took up the sport relatively late.
Australian born, Ellis came to Canada in 1963. She met her husband here—and stayed.
“Every Australian, when they finish university, feels before they settle down, they’d like to travel,” Ellis said. “Of course, when I came you didn’t fly, I came by boat. I never really went back.”
Ellis came by her athletic interests naturally. Her father was a golfer, cricketer and football player, and she was a top flight junior tennis player in Australia.
“I found that there weren’t a lot of women playing tennis in Kingston,” she said. “I’d go into a tournament and it would be me and six juniors. So then, in my mid-30s, I discovered the world of golf. I had a friend. I taught her to play squash and I said, ‘OK, you’re a golfer, I’ll teach you to play squash, you teach me to play golf.'”
Eventually, tennis and squash fell by the wayside as Ellis fell in love with golfing.
“It would be me and a hundred other women competing,” she said. “There would be a lot of tournaments, and I like to compete.”
There’s also a social side to golf that Ellis says she enjoys.
“You don’t have to get three other people to play golf,” she said. “You just walk to the club and join in with whoever and away you go. You compete against yourself, as far as your handicap goes, so I didn’t have to forever be trying to arrange games. I’m still like that. I just play with whoever.”
This year that meant playing until the end of November.
“People say, ‘When are you going to stop golfing?’” Ellis said, “and I say, ‘When the golf course closes.’”
The other members of the hall’s 20th class of inductees are:
• Jack Aldridge, who for many years served as coach and executive in high school athletics, and was later the founder and for 14 years the director of the North Kingston Basketball Camp;
• Don Dennee, who was for many years a driving force in minor baseball;
• George Richardson, the man for whom the football stadium at Queen’s University is named, who was an outstanding hockey player at the turn of the last century and an Allan Cup champion in 1909;
• Bob Storring, who was one of eastern Ontario’s elite fastball pitchers for 25 years through 1998, during which time he also competed in national and world championship tournaments.