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200 Join to Mourn Tennis Great Pancho Gonzalez

From News Services

July 10, 1995

Tennis great Pancho Gonzalez was remembered as an impassioned yet modest champion who was always puzzled why someone would want his autograph.

About 200 mourners, including former stars Rod Laver, Dennis Ralston and Alex Omeldo, paid their final respects Saturday at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas. Gonzalez was buried at adjacent Palm Memorial Park.

Gonzalez, 67, died July 3 at a Las Vegas hospital after being stricken with stomach cancer for nine months.

"He was always a simple man," Ralph Gonzales, who spells his name differently from his brother, said during the brief service. "He wouldn't have wanted people to make a fuss. He could never understand why people wanted his autograph."

Among those attending the service were Laver, the last man to win the Grand Slam; Ralston, a former U.S. Davis Cup captain; and Olmedo, the 1959 Wimbledon champion.

They came to honor a fiery man who won the U.S. national singles title at age 20 in 1948 and repeated the next year. Gonzalez then turned pro, winning the U.S. pro singles title a record eight times.

But Gonzalez played in relative obscurity during his prime because only amateurs were permitted in established tournaments such as Wimbledon until 1968.

© 1995 The Washington Post Company

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