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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 10:40 PM   #1
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Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Who was Laura Lou?

Laura Lou Jahn was supposed to be the biggest cute young thing to ever hit tennis. She was so good at such a young age that her father sued to get her admitted to play adult events.

Daddy had all the makings of a pushy tennis parent, but it wasn't 1998, it was more like 1948-when all the tennis world was looking for a new queen to knock off Brough, Dupont and Hart.

There was just one problem: someone by the name of Mo Connolly hadn't read the memo ........



Thanks to TrivFun-whose question in another thread led to this one

Last edited by Rollo : Yesterday at 02:00 PM.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 10:49 PM   #2
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Here's an obituary from 2001--like Chris Evert, Laura Lou was born and raised on Florida clay.

http://www.sptimes.com/News/052401/N...nen__68_.shtml


Laura Lou Kunnen, 68, '50s tennis icon

By 15, she won five national titles and was on the cover of many national magazines and newspapers.

By NANCY MORGAN © St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2001

Laura Lou Kunnen, 68, '50s tennis icon

By 15, she won five national titles and was on the cover of many national magazines and newspapers.

By NANCY MORGAN © St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2001


CLEARWATER -- Laura Lou Kunnen, a tennis icon from the 1950s whose love for the game spread to her six sons and one daughter, died in her sleep Tuesday after an 18-month battle with cancer. She was 68.
"She was an amazing lady and loved so much by her family," said her daughter-in-law, Bernadette Kunnen of Portland, Ore. "Her love of tennis was passed on to her children, and it is also continuing with her grandchildren."
Mrs. Kunnen began playing national tournaments at age 12, despite opposition from some tournament directors and players who felt she was too young to compete.
Still, she won five national titles before she turned 15. Taught by her father, Leslie Jahn, a tennis pro in South Orange, N.J., the tenacious youngster's successes landed her on the cover of numerous national magazines and newspapers.
"Laura Lou was totally consumed by tennis from a very young age," said Bob Butterfield, tennis director at East Lake Woodlands Country Club, where Mrs. Kunnen was a member. "She was one of those people that was intent on educating her family to tennis. Laura Lou had a great feel for the game and was a top 10 player in her heyday."
Butterfield is hosting a charity event this weekend to benefit cancer research at Morton Plant Hospital and is holding the event in memory of Mrs. Kunnen.
Her success in tennis included winning as many as 40 titles while still a teenager, a win over the great Maureen Connolly, and a trip to Wimbledon in 1960. After winning the Irish Open doubles title, Kunnen quit tennis in 1976 until 1990.
'I just wanted to get away from tennis," she said in an interview, "but I found I needed it. The game has had a tremendous impact on my life, and it teaches so many lessons that apply in life."
Mrs. Kunnen resumed training for competition and had won several state tournaments before cancer halted her in 1999. Still, she could be found on the courts whenever she was able.
Earlier this month, the USTA Florida Section unanimously elected Kunnen to the state organization's Hall of Fame in recognition of her tennis achievements and contributions to the game.
Besides her husband of 50 years, Frank Kunnen, she leaves sons Frank "Chip" III and John, both of Palm Harbor, and Dennis of Portland, Ore., Michael of Port Charlotte, Guy Patrick of Dunedin and Bill of Clearwater and daughter Laura Lyons of Dunedin.
Mrs. Kunnen is also survived by her mother, Lucy Meska of Largo, a sister, Gwynne Nave of Largo and 13 grandchildren. Funeral arrangements include viewings from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. today and a wake service at 7 p.m. at Moss Feaster Funeral Home in Clearwater. The funeral service is 10 a.m. Friday at St. Cecelia's Catholic Church in Clearwater.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 08:54 PM   #3
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

From Time magazine July 22,1959

Southern Exposure. In Tallahassee, Fla., the state legislature received a bill prohibiting misuse of the Confederate flag after Tennis Player Laura Lou Kunnen showed up on the courts with the flag on the seat of her shorts.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 11:17 PM   #4
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
From Time magazine July 22,1959

Southern Exposure. In Tallahassee, Fla., the state legislature received a bill prohibiting misuse of the Confederate flag after Tennis Player Laura Lou Kunnen showed up on the courts with the flag on the seat of her shorts.
I was wondering what her motivation for doing it?
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 01:35 AM   #5
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

The charachter who played Laura Lou in the Maureen Connolly movie "Little Mo" is K.C. Kiner, the daugther of baseball great Ralph Kiner and tennis great Nancy Chaffee. Nancy is the first unseeded player to make it to the semis.
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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 03:56 PM   #6
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Quote:
The charachter who played Laura Lou in the Maureen Connolly movie "Little Mo" is K.C. Kiner, the daugther of baseball great Ralph Kiner and tennis great Nancy Chaffee. Nancy is the first unseeded player to make it to the semis.
That's cool information Trivfun! I'll try and post connolly's thoughts on Laura lou when I've time.
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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #7
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Apparently there was a protest from the United Daughter's of the Confederacy. In a 1959 article (which shows two-Conferedate flags on her rear area-one for each cheek)-Laura compromised by moving the flag to her hip.

"I moved the flags today, so I won't be sitting on them anymore".

The whole thing started when the pretty 25 year old wore panties with Confederate flags while she winning the Dixie tournament in Tampa, Florida.

The UDC president commented, "There have been other signs of disrespect, but this is extreme." later in the year the UDC tried to ban uses of this kind by introducing a bill in the Florida legislature.

Kunnen replied that she meant no disrespect. "I sewed them on because I won the Dixie tournament and I was proud".

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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 04:07 PM   #8
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Laura had 3 sons by 1952. When she played the Dixie in 1953 she brought along her 4th, a six week old son!

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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 04:16 PM   #9
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Yikes! I found an item which may explain why Laura Lou never was the superstar many predicted she would be....

Nov 3, 1949

Mrs. Lucy Meska (Laura's Lou mother-divorced and remarried) won a custody battle for her 16 year old daughter. The other person seeking custody was Laura's paternal grandmother. This was AFTER the tennis star's father was convicted of incest involving Laura Lou. When her parents divirced laura lou was originally in her father's custody.
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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 04:21 PM   #10
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

During her father's trial she testified that he had forced her to have "illicit relations" since the age of 10. "I think my father needs medical care and he can't get the right kind of care in in jail.". The whole episode came to light before the Pacific Sothwest (Sept 1949) when the tennis prodigy ran away.

Incredibly, she asked authorities to let her enter the PSW!

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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 04:26 PM   #11
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Mr. Jahn's side of the story was that Laura Lou falsely accused him because he refused to let her go out on dates during tennis tournaments.

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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #12
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Yikes! I found an item which may explain why Laura Lou never was the superstar many predicted she would be....

Nov 3, 1949

Mrs. Lucy Meska (Laura's Lou mother-divorced and remarried) won a custody battle for her 16 year old daughter. The other person seeking custody was Laura's paternal grandmother. This was AFTER the tennis star's father was convicted of incest involving Laura Lou. When her parents divirced laura lou was originally in her father's custody.

Wow! Very sad. There many cases I have heard rumors about this sort of thing. I do know in the Barbara Breit case was because Maureen Connolly was just too hard on her in practice. But in the 1980's and now, it was more of a coaches.
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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 05:17 PM   #13
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

She had 4 kids by the time she was 20 and I think she had 3 more. Now she married Frank Kunnen around 1950 and 1951 because her 2001 obit says that she was married to him for 50 years. Was she seeing him before and if so, wouldn't the USLTA have done something about that since it was the 50's?
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Old Jan 18th, 2007, 10:39 PM   #14
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

I read at Emory University library about Mr. Jahn. He was a sports writer before becoming a pro-teacher. I'm still a bit suspicious of how this went down particularly at the mother. If your daughter had told you that your husband has been molesting you at age 10 and 13, why do allow her to live with him in Los Angeles while you are staying in New York.

Something is not right about this case. I do believe that Mr. Jahn was molesting her. But I'm very suspicious about her mom's role in this. Did she do it for Leslie or for herself?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 02:20 AM   #15
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Re: Laura Lou Jahn (Kunnen)

Quote:
I read at Emory University library about Mr. Jahn. He was a sports writer before becoming a pro-teacher. I'm still a bit suspicious of how this went down particularly at the mother. If your daughter had told you that your husband has been molesting you at age 10 and 13, why do allow her to live with him in Los Angeles while you are staying in New York.

Something is not right about this case. I do believe that Mr. Jahn was molesting her. But I'm very suspicious about her mom's role in this. Did she do it for Leslie or for herself?
I kind of share your doubts Trivfan. In some ways Laura reminds me of less sucesssful Andrea Jaeger. Of course she might have been abused sexually, but it could also be the case that accusing her dad was Laura Lou's only way out (in her mind) of a situation where he was driving her and driving her.

You've indicated that mo Connolly pushed Barbara Breit to hard. What;s the full story behind that? Did Breit herself say she was overpushed?
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