02/11/04 — How does this sound? John Allen Farfour Municipal Tennis Courts

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How does this sound? John Allen Farfour Municipal Tennis Courts

Public roads, bridges and other facilities usually should not be named in honor of living people. It is a practice that can get too political.

Some jurisdictions won’t name a building, bridge or whatever after anyone who hasn’t been dead for a certain number of years. If the appreciation of him is still strong and widespread after those years pass, then his name might be attached to something.

It’s a little bit like getting married. Make sure the love will last before you make the commitment.

But in marriage there are no exceptions to the rule. In naming things, there are.

One of those exceptions is John Allen Farfour.

Farfour is Mr. Tennis in Goldsboro and beyond. There are tennis buffs who never would have heard of Goldsboro if not for him.

He grew up in Goldsboro, was a tennis star at Goldsboro High School, and then he played at the University of North Carolina.

He played in a doubles exhibition match in 1954 with the great Althea Gibson, the first black player to win the Wimbledon tournament in England, but it was his work at home for the sport he loves and for our children that earned him the most respect.

In 1947, Farfour founded the Eastern Carolina Junior Open tournament for youths 10 to 18 years old. For 56 years it has brought to Goldsboro people from throughout eastern North Carolina, from the Triangle to the Atlantic.

Farfour is a member of the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and the Goldsboro City Schools Sports Hall of Fame. He is a life member of the U.S. Tennis Association.

On many occasions when repairs or refurbishing were needed at Goldsboro’s tennis courts at Herman Park, Farfour led the drives to raise money so Goldsboro children would have a place to play.

Last year the city replaced those courts, and there is a move afoot to have the new ones named after Farfour, who is now experiencing ill health. The City Council should do that in gratitude for what Farfour has done for us. This is one of those rare cases in which there is no need to wait.

Published in Editorials on February 11, 2004 11:37 AM