(Tuesday, Jan. 2: San Leandro historian Cindy Simons added some photos to the obituary published last week.)
Art Larsen, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969, died at age 87 earlier this month at the San Leandro Health Care Center after living here most of his life.
Larsen, who played tennis as a teen, went into the Army during World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war he resumed playing tennis and earned the nickname "Tappy" for his habit of rapping his racket on surrounding objects for good luck.
Between 1950 and 1954, Larsen rose to the top ranks of U.S. tennis with a series of tournament wins, and earned a reputation for flamboyance, reportedly arriving for matches after all-night parties, according to his Wikipedia profile.
His tennis career was cut short in 1956 when a motorcycle accident in Castro Valley caused some paralysis and vision loss.
"The old timers know about him but he went off the radar," said San Leandro historian Cindy Simons. "He was at the top of the tennis world."
According to an obituary on San Leandro Bytes, Larsen died on December 7 and was buried on December 13. He is survived by his sister, Joyce Stengel, and her children: Willis C. Stengel, Carl A. Stengel and Patricia Rickner. He had no wife or children.