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John Gardiner; Coached Celebrities at Tennis

Obituaries

February 18, 2000

John Gardiner, 82, who ran a string of tennis resorts and was coach of an array of the rich, powerful and famous. Gardiner and his wife opened the Carmel Valley Tennis Ranch in 1957 and offered three-week sessions of tennis lessons from professionals in a secluded setting with rustic yet elegant cottages. The getaway, later named the John Gardiner Tennis Ranch, was a success and attracted the likes of politicians Ronald Reagan and George Bush; entertainers Dinah Shore, Clint Eastwood and Kirk Douglas; and tennis legends Jack Kramer and Pancho Gonzalez. By the late 1970s, Gardiner controlled 11 tennis resorts in eight states. "He could talk to anybody about any subject," said Eastwood, a friend for 30 years. "And he was a very good storyteller, especially with stories of tennis greats." Born in Philadelphia, Gardiner served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He moved to the Monterey Peninsula after the war to become a football and tennis coach at Monterey High School. A memorial service will be held Monday at Carmel Mission. On Tuesday of cancer at Stanford Medical Center.

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