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Advantage: Jones

It started out small. Compton Jones Sr., BA ’49, and others would gather at neighbor Roemer McPhee’s backyard tennis court on Partridge Run Lane in Potomac, Md. They’d play Saturday and Sunday mornings and then relax in the adjacent gazebo before attending to what Jones calls “at-home” duties, i.e., household chores suggested by their wives.

Jones, center, and his PTCC colleagues
Photo Claire Duggan

More than 30 years later, the Potomac Tennis and Conversation Club boasts 100 former and present members, with a “hard core” group of about 25 people who show up 12 months a year to do just what their name implies, Jones says. They come from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and come all the way from as far north as Laurel to as far south as Alexandria.

They play in spite of conditions, pulling out the sweeper to dry the court of puddles or unbury it from winter weather. “There were many times when my friend, Harry, and I were out there chipping the ice off the courts so we could play,” says Jones, PTCC cofounder.

When turnout is high, members spread to the neighbor’s court next door.

Tennis is serious business for the PTCC. Jones and McPhee vote on the club’s new members. “We’re not being snobbish, but they have to play good tennis,” Jones says. With bandages on any number of appendages, the members brave the elements to battle their competition. “Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill,” is the motto of the more senior players, who boast a strategy of lobbing high-flying balls to force their opponents to look into the sun.

Courtside activities include monitoring the outdoor wildlife and aircraft overhead while listening to background music that ranges from classical to jazz. When tournaments like Wimbledon or the U.S. open are televised, the social part of the club’s name is in full swing.

Weekly tennis is not bad for 78-year-old Jones, who has made a career in high-technology advertising and public relations. He still consults and accepts government contracts that keep him active in the business world. After being associated with area firms such as Ketcham, J. Walter Thomson, and Stackig, his own firm, Compton Jones Associates, now occupies his time. “I no longer have 35 employees, but I’m still having fun and I enjoy the additional income,” he says.

The former GW bookstore manager and member of Sigma Chi fraternity still keeps in touch with several of his GW alumni friends, including Bob Tull, BA ’49, Tad Lindner, BA ’51, Hon. ’94, and Serge Gambal, BA ’52.

A World War II veteran, Jones started his college years at Georgetown’s Foreign Service school but switched to GW to be with his friends, and let’s be honest, he says, also to meet women.

It was at a Sigma Nu party where he ended up meeting his wife, Ruth, a New Hampshire native who was in town while working for American Airlines. They are now divorced, but they are still linked by their two children and four grandchildren, all of whom reside in the Washington area. His gardens and photography also keep him busy.

In correspondence to the magazine, Jones writes, “You still have some ‘before 1950’ graduates who are still ‘hanging in there’—active, physically and mentally sound, and continuing to contribute to our community.”

—Heather O. Milke

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