BONITA SPRINGS — Jack Rewey left the hospital at 9:30 p.m. on Friday. As he laced up his shoes, he almost forgot the hospital IV in his arm.
Early the next morning, at 6:30 a.m., he opened the tennis courts at Citrus Park.
Rewey made a fast recovery from heatstroke.
“Jack’s main concern as he was laying in the hospital was that he needed to leave,” Don Rewey said. “Because he had to carry the flag at the Rewey Cup Tennis Tournament.”
David Rewey traveled with his wife, Don, all the way from Minnesota to watch the Davis Cup Style tournament named in recognition of his father.
Jack Rewey found his passion for tennis in high school in the late 1930s. The 88-year-old still plays at Citrus Park, a residential community in Bonita Springs. He also has been the association’s treasurer for the past 20 years.
“Without any pay, without any encouragement—he’s here every single day,” said Citrus Park Tennis Director Steve Eldred.
Rewey holds the key to the park’s main water system. Every morning he wakes up as early as 4:30 a.m. to fill the water jugs, sweep the tennis courts and prepare them for the upcoming games that day.
“Seven days a week, he does anything you need for the courts,” said Tamara Swan, President of the Citrus Park Corporation since 2003. “I believe the club is what it is today because of Jack Rewey’s contribution.”
Jack Rewey’s dedication and contribution to the park were recognized at this most recent Rewey Cup tournament. The park changed its’ name to “Jack Rewey Courts” in his honor.
Joanie Mavor, Joyce Armstrong, Bruce Terrillion and Jane Schroder presented the sign to the Rewey family.
“Only six people knew what was going on and we used duct tape on those people,” said master of ceremonies Don Tiaho.
The plan was successful in surprising the Rewey family. “I don’t know how they kept this a secret,” Jack Rewey said.
He was presented the sign after leading the parade of tennis players onto the courts. Every year the teams represent their countries—the United States, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Canada—in a colorful display of flags, banners and shirts.
“To pull this off without him knowing about it is exciting,” Swan said. “To keep a secret around here is extremely difficult.”
At the final note of the national anthem, the team players were eager to get their racquets in hand. The tennis fans rooted for the teams from the crowded stand.
The national pride remained along the tennis courts as the flags were hung from the walls in the competition.
“This is one of the fun tournaments to both participate and watch,” said Sharon Tanerilo in the stands. She has played in four national games and continues to practice in the courts daily.
Jack Rewey sat outside the tennis courts with his family throughout the tournament. “Tennis is what keeps Jack going. It’s definitely his inspiration,” Swan said.
He gazed at the opponents from underneath his white ball cap, stitched with the image of two tennis racquets.
Close by, a sign in the tennis courts showcased his name and dedication in its’ tall easel. It read, “Jack Rewey Courts: Citrus Park’s ‘Mr. Tennis.’”