- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2006

RICHMOND (AP) — John Andrew Watson Jr., a professor and one-time tennis coach who helped a young Arthur Ashe develop his skills, died Feb. 17. He was 85.

Born in Greenville, S.C., and raised in Bethlehem, Pa., Mr. Watson taught Spanish and French at Virginia Union University in Richmond from 1948 until his death.

He taught himself to play tennis, becoming the school’s coach in 1959. He coached for 43 years.

Mr. Watson met 9-year-old Mr. Ashe while playing at the old Brook Field tennis courts, the only local ones that were available to black athletes.

He was Mr. Ashe’s practice partner until the player left Richmond at age 15.

Mr. Ashe, who died in 1993 of AIDS contracted from a transfusion, became one of the top tennis players in the world, winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Mr. Watson was the longtime president of the Richmond Racquet Club. He also volunteered as tennis coach for the Richmond parks department.

In a 1999 interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Mr. Watson said, “I probably saved a whole lot of people from going to jail … just by putting a tennis racquet in their hands and giving them some sneakers or clothes to wear so they could play, telling them this is your entry to a different life.”

Survivors include two daughters, Graciela Martinez of Los Angeles and Dolores Pevey of Germany; and a son, John Andrew Watson III of San Diego.

Carter Hickman, 95,former state delegate

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Carter Hickman, a longtime Maryland lawmaker from Queen Anne’s County, died Feb. 18 at a retirement home in Massachusetts. He was 95.

Mr. Hickman, a Democrat, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1962 and served five four-year terms. His career as a lawmaker began after years as a teacher, principal and supervisor for the Queen Anne’s County high schools. He also operated a feed and grain business and worked as a real estate agent.

The Queen Anne’s County District Court building is named for Mr. Hickman.


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