General

Frederick H. Prince IV 1947 – 2017

29 Dec 2017

Frederick Henry Prince IV, 70, of Newport, RI, Marshall, VA and Washington, DC, died peacefully of complications resulting from Parkinson's Disease at home in Georgetown on December 16, 2017.


Frederick H. Prince IV 1947 – 2017

Frederick Henry Prince IV, 70, of Newport, RI, Marshall, VA and Washington, DC, died peacefully of complications resulting from Parkinson's Disease at home in Georgetown on December 16, 2017.

We first met three decades ago at the inception of the effort to build a real tennis court in Washington DC. There were a dozen of us on a committee; formed to accomplish a task we thought would be easy. Freddy knew better. He was a veteran of an effort to restore the court in Chicago to its original purpose and he knew all about pitfalls and opposition.

As the lead-donor he was entirely deserving of having the court named for him but, technically, it was not. Of course, the honor was offered but he declined it, preferring his efforts to be anonymous. This led to a dilemma that was only resolved by the discovery of a long history of Prince’s Clubs in England. For some years, we took the view that the court in Washington was named in honor of an historical lineage rather than a generous donor. That fiction prevailed for about as long as it needed to before it was overcome by reality.

Those who observed the process of building Prince’s Court will recall the many failures that preceded eventual success. I certainly do because I was the cause of all of them. For me, Freddy's generosity was secondary in importance to his tenacity. Any one of the failures would have provided ample grounds to head for the hills and disassociate from the project, but he never did.

Yes, Freddy was generous; more so Freddy was tenacious. This trait would appear time and again, not least when he was honored at the subsequent reopening of the Chicago court.

The building of Prince’s court was not entirely a reenactment of the Bataan Death March. Freddy and Charlie Matheson, an architect who helped design the court, decided at one stage that they needed to do some “research” on glass walls that could only be found on trinquet courts in France. Off they went on their fact-gathering mission that included stag hunting, playing the courts in Paris, Fontainebleau and Bordeaux (none of which had even a pane of glass let alone a wall), revisiting family history foxhunting in Pau and, eventually, having a look at a few glass-walled courts.

Formerly the co-trustee of the Frederick Henry Prince 1932 Trust, Chairman of CMD Corporation and co-managing partner of F.H. Prince & Co, Inc., Freddy grew the company from a family-owned concern into an extremely successful business that attracted the backing of first rate institutional investors.

Freddy's greatest passions in life were his family and his philanthropy. For 40 years, he served as co-trustee of the Prince Charitable Trusts. In another example of his tenacity, Freddy helped form the community of grassroots activists who were instrumental in preventing The Walt Disney Company's "Disney's America," a culturally insensitive historic theme park, from encouraging unchecked development, ruining hallowed Civil War Battlefields, and destroying the beauty and integrity of the Virginia countryside.

In Rhode Island, Freddy's support helped reinvigorate the Aquidneck Land Trust, which has led to the conservation of 2,500 acres of open space, equal to 10% of the entire island.

Freddy was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 8, 1947, the only son of Helen Elizabeth Peirce and Frederick Prince III of Boston. He graduated from the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts in 1965 and Columbia University in 1969. He married Diana Armour Cochrane on February 14th, 1970 in New York City.

In his later years, Freddy became an avid sportsman. He was a member of the Orange County Hunt, an activity he shared with Charlie Matheson, a keen skier in the winter and an enthusiastic windsurfer in the summer. Temple Grassi, another cofounder of Princes Court, also reports an enthusiasm for Blow Pong after an especially “festive" dinner.

Freddy is survived by his wife of 48 years, Diana Prince, his sister Elizabeth Prince de Ramel, his daughter Daisy Prince Chisholm, his son Octavius Prince and two grandchildren, Horatio Chisholm and Theodore Chisholm.

Few in the 20th century did more for real tennis than Freddy.

Haven Pell

 


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