Services for local tennis player Henrietta Trankle, 85, winner of numerous singles and doubles titles, will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in the Sieck & Mast Funeral Home, 1009 Kensington Ave. Burial will be in Holy Rest Cemetery, Cheektowaga.
Mrs. Trankle, who ice skated, bowled and played tennis well into her 80s, died Sunday (Dec. 23, 1990) in the Manor Care Nursing Home in Westerville, Ohio, after a brief illness.
"Win or lose, she was a person who truly loved tennis -- in competition or just for the enjoyment of it," said Buffalo News "Racquet Sports" columnist Charlie Garfinkel.
The highlight of her career, he said, came "about 30 years ago when she played Pat Telaak in the finals of the Buffalo City Open. She was in her early 50s. She defeated her opponent, who was 30 years younger, in a gruelling, three-hour match that is still talked about."
The former Henrietta De Freis was born in Buffalo and was a graduate of School 39 and the old Hutchinson High School. She worked as a bookkeeper for Theodore Steeg & Son at Fillmore Avenue and Genesee Street for a number of years.
She started playing tennis as a teen-ager -- first on clay courts off Delaware, Humboldt and other locations in the city, then joining the Buffalo Racquet Club, where she played, on clay courts, most of her tennis life.
Although she started out with a wooden racket, she later preferred aluminum or graphite, she told Garfinkel. She played and continued taking lessons even after a hip operation in the early 1980s.
In her 70s, she played up to four hours twice a day. In her 80s, she played "only" doubles, two hours a day. She lamented the fact that there were no longer programs for the city's junior players and said of big-league tennis that it had "been corrupted by too much wealth."
"She used to complain that girls weren't allowed to do anything when she was young," said a daughter, Ellen Kohnhorst of Pickering, Ohio. "She joined the Buffalo Skating Club fairly late in life -- 1962. She was still taking lessons, mainly dance, when she hung up her skates about two years ago."
Mrs. Trankle was brought up in the city's Fruit Belt, where she lived until 1931, when she moved to Lisbon Avenue and, later, to Crescent Avenue, "within walking distance to the skating club," said Mrs. Kohnhorst. In 1988, Mrs. Trankle moved from the Buffalo area to Columbus, Ohio, to be near Mrs. Kohnhorst.
She held a bowling league award in addition to her tennis trophies and was an inspiration to many "not to give up," her daughter said. "She said she always needed another challenge."
She was a pioneer member of a Great Books study group and an honorary member of the Buffalo Skating Club.
Her husband, Albert B., died in 1985.
Also surviving is a second daughter, Lynne Dowell of Tyler, Texas, and six grandchildren.