PASSINGS: Jeanne Austin, Gerald Roush

Jeanne Austin

Mother of tennis champion Tracy Austin

Jeanne Austin, 84, the matriarch of a tennis playing family that produced four professional players, including two-time U.S. Open champion Tracy Austin, died Tuesday of heart failure at Torrance Memorial Medical Center after a long illness, daughter Pam Austin said.

From 1962 to 1977, Jeanne Austin managed the pro shop at the Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates, where her five children learned to play tennis. Besides Tracy and Pam, sons Jeff and John played on the pro circuit, while her other son Doug was a top college player.


The most successful of the Austin children was Tracy, who earned the No. 1 ranking during a career closely supervised by her mother.

In 1977, at age 14 in Portland, Ore., Tracy became the youngest player at the time to win a pro event. She beat Chris Evert to win her first U.S. Open title at 16 in 1979, then defeated Martina Navratilova to win the U.S. Open again in 1981. In 1980, she was ranked No. 1 and teamed with her brother John to win the Wimbledon mixed doubles title. Chronic injuries cut short her career a few years later, and subsequent comebacks were unsuccessful.

Jeanne Austin grew up in Beverly Hills and attended UCLA, where she met her future husband, George. The family moved to Rolling Hills Estates after he completed military service and went to work for TRW as a nuclear physicist.

Gerald Roush


Ferrari expert published newsletter

Gerald Roush, 68, a Ferrari expert and newsletter publisher who was dubbed “the Dear Abby of the vintage Ferrari world” by the Wall Street Journal, died May 21 from complications of a heart attack at a nursing home in Atlanta.

A meticulous researcher of the Italian sports cars, Roush took interest in Ferraris after seeing one on the cover of a 1958 magazine. While in college, he began collecting information about individual cars based on serial numbers.

Born in 1941, Roush earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history at Auburn University. He was teaching history at Abraham Baldwin College in Tifton, Ga., when he started the Ferrari Market Letter in 1974, which continues to publish. It carries articles about certain cars or collectors along with classified ads about vehicles for sale.

In 1976, he quit teaching to devote more time to the newsletter. Today, the monthly print and online newsletter boasts nearly 5,000 subscribers. He and his wife, Carol Jane Whitley Roush, compiled the publication in their home.

He also was a consultant whose clients included lawyers, law enforcement officers, car dealers, investors and collectors.

Roush once owned a couple of Ferraris but sold them. That made him more reputable among clients because he didn’t have a vested interest in the cars, according to a 1997 article in the Wall Street Journal.

“They don’t really make good investments,” he told the Wall Street Journal. Vintage Ferraris, he said, “are just old cars.”


— Times staff and wire services