CLASS OF 2000
Thurston Land was born in Paris, Texas, on Christmas Day, 1904. The Lands moved to the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City in 1908 and stayed there for the next 83 years. He graduated from Central High School and was an outstanding athlete participating in football, basketball, swimming, track, baseball, and tennis. He was a self-taught gymnast and he amazed all who would watch with his flips, twists, and hand-walking.
Thurston and Ruth settled into their home in the 2300 block of South Harvey after their marriage and began a combination printing/tennis player production business. He managed his own print shop, buying and selling printing equipment, and printing church bulletins, cafe menus, newsletters, etc. while Ruth gave birth to four sons and a daughter, all of whom became quite good tennis players.
The terms compassionate, caring, helpful, just good people are used to describe Thurston and Ruth. When the Depression of the 1930s came, many men left Oklahoma to find work so they could care for their families. Thurston kept the print shops open and managed their business for several of them while they were away. They converted their home into apartments to provide housing for those who had lost their homes.
In the late 1940s, Thurston and James Drake started the Oklahoma City Tennis Association. The three courts in Goodholm Park located at 26th and North Harvey were the Association's headquarters and Thurston's station wagon was the Pro Shop. Shoes, balls, rackets, nets, and everything a player needed were there and very reasonably priced. From 4:00 PM until dark each day, a person could buy tennis supplies or play tennis at the courts. If you lived in the Oklahoma City area and wanted to learn or improve your tennis game, this was the place to be. The tennis warehouse was at 2301 South Harvey. And there, defying most of the principles of good business practices, people, schools, universities, and clubs from all over Oklahoma and many surrounding states came to get their tennis equipment.
Thurston played the game also, receiving high State and Missouri Valley rankings until well into his 60s. His knees finally gave out and he had to quit playing, but the tennis business kept on. Thurston died in August, 1991, but his legacy of a true friend of tennis lives on.