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In Memoriam: Cynthia Yandell

John Yandell

Printable Version

My mom, a founding investor in Tennisplayer, in 1938 as a freshman at Bennington College.

Cynthia Yandell, a founding investor in, passed away on October 2 in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the age of 89. And yeah she also happened to be my mom.

Mom was born in her mother's New Hampshire summer house on Lake Winnipesaukee in 1920. Her family descended on both sides from first generation New England leaders, among them Governor William Bradford of Plymouth plantation, and the dissenting Anglican cleric, the Reverend John Cotton, who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1633.

Her father, Tracy S. Lewis, a Connecticut industrialist and yachtsman, died suddenly in the first year of her life. Subsequently her mother, Grace Meacham Lewis, married George Jenkinson, a Yale educated oil executive and decorated World War I veteran, whom she had known since the summers of her youth in New Hampshire.

In 1924 Mom's family moved to Denver, Colorado and Mom adopted Jenkinson as her maiden name. A decade later in 1933, my grandfather's oil business career took them all to Tulsa. Mom went to a school in Tulsa called Holland Hall for 2 years before going to boarding school in the east, graduating from Westover in Middlebury, Connecticut in 1938.

She attended Bennington College in Vermont, graduating in 1942 with a major in art. During World War II, she lived in New York City where she worked in a midtown art gallery and studied painting with the noted teacher Wallace Harrison.

After the war, she rejoined her family in Tulsa, where she became a member of the Junior League. In 1951 she completed a still unmatched double, winning the Southern Hills Country Club ladies golf championship and the Tulsa Tennis Club women's tennis championship in the same year. She continued to play both golf and tennis for the next 50 years into her mid 80s. Unfortunately, my brother Scott got most of her ability in both sports.

In 1952, she married a Tulsa general surgeon, my father, Hays R. Yandell, MD. Yandell, was a Yale educated and Harvard trained doctor, who had served as a naval surgeon in the South Pacific during World War II They were married at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, where our family continued as members for over 50 years.

Throughout her life in Tulsa, mom took a leadership role in civic organizations and causes. She was twice elected president of the Junior League. She was a board member and later president of Planned Parenthood.

She was also a board member and head of the parents association at Holland Hall School, the private school she attended, as well as myself, my brother and her two grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, “Bud" Yandell, in 1997. She is survived by two sons. That would be me, John Yandell of San Francisco, and my brother, Scott Yandell of Jackson, Wyoming, as well as two grandchildren, Elizabeth Yandell of Dallas, and Jack Yandell, also of San Francisco.


John Yandell is widely acknowledged as one of the leading videographers and students of the modern game of professional tennis. His high speed filming for Advanced Tennis and Tennisplayer have provided new visual resources that have changed the way the game is studied and understood by both players and coaches. He has done personal video analysis for hundreds of high level competitive players, including Justine Henin-Hardenne, Taylor Dent and John McEnroe, among others. In addition to his role as Editor of Tennisplayer he is the author of the critically acclaimed book Visual Tennis. The John Yandell Tennis School is located in San Francisco, California.

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