POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- Tennis pro Jeffrey Aarts' impact in life can be gauged by the turnout at his Tuesday funeral at Pound Ridge Community Church.
Attendance was far beyond the main room's capacity, with folks standing in the back and in the vestibule. Additional space in another room was utilized, and overflow parking was used next door at Pound Ridge Elementary School.
Aarts, a Pound Ridge native who died suddenly Thursday at the age of 59 while playing a round of golf with his family at Hudson National Golf Course in Croton, was remembered fondly in a series of anecdotes from his family and friends, with his mentoring of others held in high regard.
Flanked by sons Peter and Michael, Aarts' wife, Karen, brought up memories of their adolescence, including a time where she beat in him a Pound Ridge Town Park tennis tournament. Both grew up locally and remained in the area, living in a home built by her father.
Karen Aarts also recalled her husband's career, including his tennis lessons and his association with a club whose program grew while he was there. She also recalled him playing golf with his sons and taking them for rides in a cart.
At times in his remarks, younger brother Tom Aarts called him a “great father,” a “great teacher” and a “protector.” He recalled their childhood, including his brother's interest in tennis.
The funeral service included prayer and singing in the audience of hymns such as “Amazing Grace” and and “On Eagle's Wings.” Following the service, pallbearers brought Aarts' casket to a hearse, with people facing in two lines by the walk.
As part of coverage of Jeffrey Aarts' passing, Daily Voice chronicled the organizations he was associated with throughout is career. They included the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien, Conn., and Norwalk, Conn., Bedford Golf & Tennis and Chestnut Ridge Racquet Club in Mount Kisco, along with being a 1991 finalist for the USTA Men’s 35 Grass Court Doubles Championship.
A fund in Jeffrey Aarts' name is being set up to through Danbury Grassroots Tennis and Enrichment, it was announced. The purpose will be for honoring his love of tennis, teaching and children, according to the announcement. The mailing address for donations is P.O. Box 2912, Danbury, CT 06813.