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Oakley Woods Croquet

American croquet loses
a founding benefactor

by Bob Alman
Posted November 15, 2009


On October 11, 2009 the croquet family lost an accomplished, beloved and generous member.


Diane Blow was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and educated at Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut and Briarcliff Junior College in Briarcliff Manor, New York. She married in 1955, and had five children and 10 grandchildren. Although croquet was a big part of her life, she was most proud of the three daughters and two sons she raised in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut.

Diane was trained at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City by the American Red Cross to be a nurse's aide and worked for many years at Lenox Hill Hospital. After moving to Greenwich, Diane volunteered at Greenwich Hospital. She served on the Altar Guild at Christ Church Greenwich, and was on the Women's Auxiliary at Lenox Hill.

In 1997, the Blows bought a winter home in Boca Raton, Florida to be near Diane's brother and enjoy croquet with Chuck Steuber whom they knew from Greenwich. It was then that she was told of Chuck's plan to buy land and build the National Croquet Center. He told her that if 10 people would give $100,000 each, things could start to move and would go from there. So, she did contribute $100,000, and later donated the Trophy Hall in her mother, Suzie Linden's memory, who died in 1996.

In 1957, Suzie Linden had started the Green Gables Croquet Club in Spring Lake, New Jersey, which was the first organized club of the USCA, founded 20 years later. Diane started her croquet career when called upon to "keep the board" and was "hooked!" In the '80s, Diane and her husband, Michael, joined Greenwich Croquet Club, went to Croquet Schools at PGA and Newport, and began competing in tournaments. To enjoy croquet at home, she built a croquet court and founded the "Nutmeg Front Yard Croquet Club," named for her chocolate Labrador, Nutmeg.

When still more funds were required for the completion of the National Croquet Center, Diane donated money for the building of the Pro Shop, and for the draperies needed for the upstairs ballroom. She believed that helping the Croquet Center "make it" was extremely important for all of us who love the sport. She told people that every year the NCC keeps going, the stronger it becomes. That's why she agreed to be the "Angel" behind a five-year mortgage plan when approached several years ago -- the only remaining indebtedness of the National Croquet Center -- at a time when the Center faces new challenges from the global economic crisis and the consequent local depression in the Hospitality industry which has already caused the closing and bankruptcy of countless restaurants, caterers, and event planners.

Diane served from 1998 on the CFA Board, and chaired the Nominating Committee for six years. She served on the Greenwich Croquet Club board, and ran several tournaments there. At Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club, she served as Secretary/Treasurer and co-chaired their Invitational. Diane represented the Northeast Region on the USCA Nominating Committee.

When not playing croquet, Diane enjoyed tennis, gardening, and competing in flower shows, winning many blue ribbons. Diane and her late husband, Michael, traveled to and played in numerous croquet tournaments over the years, bringing home many trophies from their play.

In 2008 Diane Blow became a member of the elite Croquet Hall of Fame, joining her late mother, Suzie Linden, who was inducted in 1980. All five of Diane's children were at the Center last year when she was inducted into the Croquet Hall of Fame. Her daughter, Diane Quintana of Atlanta, said, "We were very proud of her achievement. Over the years I had visited Mom in Boca Raton and been nearby while she was on the phone for one of the lengthy croquet meetings via conference call. She was happy to be involved and cared deeply about the Center's success."

Diane Blow, Suzie Linden, and all the members of the Croquet Hall of Fame will be celebrated in a special edition of the annual dinner on November 19 at the National Croquet Center which, for the first time, will not induct a new member, but will honor and acknowledge all its members. As the most recent inductee, Diane Blow heads the list.

The members of Croquet Foundation of America's Hall of Fame are:

2008    Diane Blow, Jackie Jones
2007    Robert “Bob” Chilton
2006    John W. Curington
2005    Fred Jones, John C. Osborn
2004    William “Bill” W. Campbell
2003    Freeman A. “Bill” Berne, Billie Jean Berne
2002    Norma S. Truman
2001    Charles P. Steuber
2000    Ray Bell, Reynold E. Kraft, Jerry Stark
1999    Michael Gibbons, Robert Kroeger
1998    James H.U. Hughes
1997    James B. Miles
1996    John Donnell, Bill Hoy, Russ Ketcham
1995    Archie Burchfield, W. Ellery McClatchy, 
        Stan Patmor, Forrest Tucker
1994    Rudulph E. “Foxy” Carter
1993    Peyton Ballenger, Mack Penwell
1992    Robert Clayton, Don Degnan, Lee A. Olsen
1991    Jean Arrington, Patricia Supper
1990    Al Heath, Jim Lyons
1989    E.A. “Teddy” Prentis IV, S. Cortland Wood
1988    Cesare Danova, Ned Skinner, Frederick Supper
1987    Barton Gubelmann, Walter Gubelmann
1986    Tom McDonnell
1985    Hilda McMartin, Elizabeth Newell
1984    Richard Pearman, Archie Peck, 
        Catherine Tankoos-Barrett
1983    Paul Butler, William Harbach, Jack R. Osborn, 
        Nelga Young, John Young
1982    Raoul Fleischmann, Jean Negulesco, 
        Edmund A. Prentis III, Francis Taylor
1981    George Abbott, Andrew Fuller, William Hawks, 
        Louis Jourdan, Frederick Shock, Jr.,
        Herbert Bayard Swope, Jr.
1980    John David Griffin, Howard Hawks, John Lavalle,
        Suzie Linden, Duncan McMartin, Lillian Phipps,
        Richard Rodgers, Michael Romanoff, 
        George Sanders, Gig Young
1979    Margaret Emerson, Samuel Goldwyn, Averell Harriman,
        Moss Hart, Milton “Doc” Holden, George S. Kaufmann, 
        Harpo Marx, Dorothy Rodgers, Herbert Bayard Swope Sr., 
        Joseph Tankoos, Alexander Woolcott, Daryl Zanuck


 
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