The Napa Valley Tennis Association and Napa Valley Country Club Tennis recently celebrated the life of one of their most active members with the Mark Stuart Tennis Festival at the NVTA facility behind Vintage High School.

Dan Hunt, one of the event’s organizers, said the NVTA is a nonprofit that uses the minimal annual dues from nearly 400 members to improve and general upkeep of the facility.

He said Stuart, who passed away last year, was a contractor and used his skills to help build and improve both NVTA and NVCC tennis facilities. Most of the improvements he helped with at the eight-court NVTA facility were to the clubhouse, connecting deck, shade structures, water fountain, and common area used for viewing.

“Because of Mark’s never-say-no attitude, along with many other volunteers, the NVTA site is the finest public tennis club in Napa,” Hunt said.

Hunt said the event sold out, with 64 players ranging in age from teens to players in their 90s. There were another 30-plus attendees, including Stuart’s wife, Karen, and several other family members, all celebrating his volunteerism and commitment to tennis in the valley.

“The event celebrated Mark’s tireless efforts in volunteerism and love of the game,” Hunt said. “We thought that it would be a fun idea to put on hopefully what is going to be an annual event. It’s a 100% charitable event. All the proceeds will be given in the form of college scholarships to both a boy and a girl in the tennis programs at Vintage and Napa High, as well as donations to Napa Hospice and a cancer organization serving people who are fighting cancer and live in the Napa area.”

Several items donated by local businesses were raffled off. There was also a silent auction for a tennis membership at NVCC, and an exhibition match featuring top local players and professionals representing the NVTA and NVCC.

“The Napa tennis community should be thanked for their support in making this event a tremendous success,” Hunt said.

Event sponsors included the Sportabout tennis store, K-Swiss tennis shoes and apparel, several Napa Valley wineries, NVCC, DJ extraordinaire Adam Bomb, and teaching professionals Mike Fischer of the NVTA and Chris Kubicka of NVCC.

“Our hope is to make this event an annual celebration of tennis in the valley in Mark Stuart’s name,” Hunt added. “We look forward to seeing everyone out here next year.”

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