Paul McLaren "Mickey" Pardew, who built a Towson sports complex and earned honors in his many decades as an amateur tennis player and coach, died of congestive heart failure Tuesday at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The Towson resident was 91.
Born in Baltimore and raised on University Parkway, he attended Polytechnic Institute but switched to City College because he could join the school's swimming team.
He earned a mechanical engineering degree from the Johns Hopkins University and worked in aircraft production at the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River.
A 1984 Evening Sun sports column noted he was "known for his beautiful backhand stroke." In that article, he said, "I didn't take up tennis until I was 28. I thought tennis was a sissy sport."
The column said he was "one of the most amazing athletes in our town" and that, over time, the "name Pardew has probably graced these sports pages as much as any, short of Unitas or Robinson."
He competed in numerous annual tournaments sponsored by The Evening Sun and was a frequent player at the Clifton and Druid Hill parks clay courts, whose surfaces he preferred after injuring his knees as a high school pole vaulter.
Family members said he borrowed startup money and supervised the building of the Orchard Swimming Club in Towson in 1954. He bought 10 acres of land - it had been an apple orchard - and designed and constructed an outdoor pool, 50 by 25 yards, for competitive swimmers.
"He was the general contractor and was always totally hands-on," said his son, Paul "Mac" Pardew of Towson, who was also a champion swimmer and tennis player.
Orchard became the home of a Knights of Columbus team coached by a close friend, Reds Hucht. Several years later, he built the Golden Ring Swimming Club near Essex.
In 1963, Terry Reardon, then coach of the Baltimore Clippers of the American Hockey League, approached Mr. Pardew with the idea of a new practice rink for the team, as well as a home for youth hockey and figure skating. In 1964 he opened the Orchard Ice Rink.
He also operated the Orchard Golf Range on the same Towson property.
Mr. Pardew won many Baltimore tennis championships.
He also was Calvert Hall College High School tennis coach from 1960 through 1976 and his teams took numerous Maryland Scholastic Association championships.
His affection for tennis prompted Mr. Pardew to build the Orchard Tennis Club so that he could play year-round on the clay courts he preferred.
In 1973, Mr. Pardew and his sons constructed another skating venue, Benfield Pines Ice Rink in Millersville.
"It's a funny thing about age," Mr. Pardew told an Evening Sun reporter in 1976. "Once you get it, you can't get rid of it. But I lasted a long time."
The news article said, "The shots are still there, most of the time, and that backhard - my, it is as lethal as ever. But the legs are almost gone and, for the first time in his life, he feels the great advance of age. Mickey Pardew is 59."
At the time he was ranked 14th among seniors nationally.
Mr. Pardew, who had both knees replaced when he was in his 70s, played senior tennis tournaments throughout the country.
He gave up the game when he was 85.
Services will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Lemmon Funeral Home, 10 W. Padonia Road, Timonium.
Survivors include his wife of more than 25 years, the former Corinne "Corky" Bigelow; another son, J. Patrick "Rick" Pardew of Parkton; a daughter, Patricia Read of Baltimore; and five grandchildren.
His first wife of 39 years, Gertrude "Trudy" Ball, died in 1978.