Jeanne Colette Evert, known by her middle name, was born June 15, 1928 in New Rochelle, New York to Marie Clare and Joseph Nicholas Thompson. She was the youngest of 10 Thompson siblings and attended the Ursuline Seminary in New Rochelle, and the Katherine Gibbs School.

In 1952, Colette Thompson married James Evert, a tennis teaching professional she met at the wedding of a mutual friend. The Everts moved to Florida, where for 49 years, Mr Evert was the city of Fort Lauderdale’s tennis director. He became a fixture at Holiday Park — fittingly renamed the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center in 1997.

The Everts raised their five children – Drew, Chris, Jeanne, John and Clare — in Fort Lauderdale. Tennis played a big role in the family, with each of the children reaching the final of a United
States national championship. Chris famously won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and spent 260 weeks as the WTA World No.1 and Jeanne also spent time on the fledgling women’s tour in the
1970s.

While traveling with her children over several decades to junior, amateur and professional tournaments, Colette Evert became a well-respected and admired fixture at tournaments around the world. Whether at a 12-and-Under USTA tournament in the United States or a Grand Slam championship, such as Wimbledon, she was embraced by players, tournament directors, television commentators, the media, coaches and fans alike.

Known for being a caring, thoughtful and accepting person, Mrs Evert was a beloved wife and devoted mother to her children. She was an active, energetic participant in the Fort Lauderdale community who embraced an endless array of friends from all walks of life and shared with them her infectious, positive perspective for life.

“Our mother was loved by everyone who knew her. She was gracious, kind and nurturing. My brothers, sisters and I couldn’t have asked for a better role model or mom. We will miss her dearly,” said Chris Evert. “She never had a bad word to say about anybody and would often cheer for our opponents when they played well against us. If there is a Hall of Fame for Tennis Moms, she was undoubtedly the first inductee,” she added.

Along with her deep commitment to her family, Mrs Evert also had a deep commitment to her faith. Her “home away from home” was St Anthony’s Catholic Church, where her children attended grade school. Later, she became a Minister of the Eucharist, bringing the Sacrament of Communion to Catholics in area nursing homes and assisted-living facilities who were ill or otherwise unable to attend mass.

Colette Evert was predeceased by her husband Jimmy in 2015 and her daughter Jeanne Evert Dubin earlier this year. She is survived by sons Drew and John, daughters Chris and Clare and their families, including 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Her wish was that in lieu of flowers, family friends would donate to the Jimmy Evert Merit Scholarship Fund, which is administered by the USTA Foundation.

Colette Evert with husband Jimmy Evert

Photo by Art Seitz