Frank Bowden (1908–1977) was an American tennis player. This is how Allison Danzig of The New York Times described Bowden's playing style "His service was a veritable lightning bolt and if the ball came back, he was up to the net to smother the return with his volleys and kills. His hard forehand and sweeping backhand kept the ball deep to crowd his opponent in the corners and pave the way for successful forages at close quarters". Bowden made his debut in the U. S. championships in 1930 and lost in round two. At the 1931 U.S. Championships, Bowden caused the "biggest upset of the year" by beating Wimbledon champion Sidney Wood in the third round. According to Bill Tilden "Sidney allowed himself to be drawn in. He had to come in because Bowden was shortening up. And once Sidney came up, he left himself wide open for that shot down the sideline or a smart rap across court". Wood admitted afterwards "I was afraid to go to the net". Bowden lost in the quarterfinals to Fred Perry. Bowden continued to play in the U. S. championships until 1947, reaching the last 16 in 1935 and 1940. Bowden was three times a finalist in the national indoor championships (losing the 1937 final to Frank Parker, the 1938 final to Don McNeill and the 1939 final to Wayne Sabin). After serving as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army in WW2, in Papua New Guinea, and Philippines, he worked as a statistician for the New York Telephone Company.
Frank Bowden Dies
A mass of the resurrection will be offered on Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick's church for Frank Bowden, 68, of 8 Penn Terrace who died Tuesday at Morristown Memorial after a heart attack. Mr. Bowden was the top tennis player in New Jersey in 1936 and in 1942, was ranked No. 15 among U.S. players. A graduate of Columbia College where he was a member of the swimming team and captained the tennis team, he made a name in Eastern tournaments as a singles and doubled player, winning many events. For three consecutive years from 1937 through 1939 he was finalist in the N.Y. national indoor championships. In 1939 and 1940, Mr. Bowden won the Brooklyn singles crown and in 1940 he was awarded the Thomas H. Gillespie Trophy at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club. Later that summer he won the Kings County singles championship and the Englewood Field Club singles tournament. In 1942 he was selected to play with a U.S. indoor team that toured Denmark, Sweden and France. After his retirement from tournament tennis, Mr. Bowden continued to play regularly and was, for many years, the top player at Chatham Fish & Game Club. Mr. Bowden had been a resident of Chatham for 21 years and had been active in community affairs here as past president of the Chatham Historical Society and past treasurer of the Boro Bicentennial Committee. He also was a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, having served with the armed forces in World War II, and was a member of Company K. 7th Regiment of the New York National Guard. In 1973, Mr. Bowden retired as a statistician for the New York Telephone Co. in New York City where he had worked for 43 years. Survivors include his wife, Ruth; two daughters, Mrs. David Kopelman, M.D. and Miss Margaret Bowden, both of Boston; a son, Frank J. Bowden Jr. of Minneapolis; and four grandchildren. Persons wishing to contribute to Mr. Bowden's memory are asked to do so through the American Heart Association, 9 Pocono Road, Denville, N.J. 07834. William A. Bradley & Son will have charge of the funeral arrangements.
Published in The Chatham Press (Chatham, NJ) on March 3, 1977
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