WALTER MONTENEGRO (Deceased November 3, 2009 at age 100) spent more than 45 years in the manufacture and distribution of tennis and squash racquets and equipment. During that time, he became dedicated to the improvement of racquet sports, especially through the ownership with his son of the Cragin-Simplex Corporation. Mr. Montenegro also was active in the affairs of service organizations and he helped found and manage that association’s Manufacturing Division.
In 1961, he was instrumental in changing the nature of squash and increasing participation in it by developing and producing a new ball known as the “Green Diamond.” The “Yellow Diamond,” developed soon after, helped make squash a year-round sport for the first time by making it easier to play in the summer months. Mr. Montenegro also published a precedent-setting magazine devoted to squash, which was distributed monthly and was free. Prior to it, there was no publication dedicated to publishing current news about the sport.
Mr. Montenegro served as treasurer for the World Professional Squash Racquets Association and starting in 1947 donated its annual championship trophies. He was honored many times for his contributions and service to racquet sports. In 1974, he was honored with a testimonial dinner for 42 years of service to racquet sports. He has been named “Man of the Year” by the North American Squash Racquets Association and presented with its Ketcham Trophy.
The Tennis Foundation of North America, which he helped to found in 1973, named him its first Honorary Lifetime Member in 1983, when he retired from active participation. He also held Lifetime Honorary memberships in: the U.S. Professional Tennis Association, U.S. Squash Racquets Association, World Professional Squash Association and Mexican Squash Racquets Association. His contributions and service led to the increased enjoyment by many of racquet sports.
Please note: This biography was produced from the nominating materials in the candidate’s nominating year, so the information is not current.