Great Living Cincinnatians
Paul M. Flory
Visionary Tennis Philanthropist
Paul Flory was born in Stanfordville, N.Y. on May 31, 1922, He grew up in Dayton and moved to Georgetown, Ohio when he was in high school. He graduated from Higgensport High, where he was All-Brown County in basketball. Flory spent a year at Ohio University before transferring to Yale, where he graduated.
He married Carolyn Nelson in 1952, beginning a 54-year union that lasted until her 2006 death. Flory and his wife had three children.
After serving as a Navy Navigator in the South Pacific during WWII, Flory was hired by Procter & Gamble in 1947, where he worked closely with the dental field until his retirement in 1986. While still an executive at Procter & Gamble, Flory volunteered part time for a tennis tournament called the ATP. By 1975, he became the director of the men's tournament, at a time when the event's survival was in question.
Under his dedicated volunteer leadership, the tournament not only survived, but has become one of only 13 events in men's tennis that are mandatory for players. Also under his direction, Cincinnati was selected to host a Women's Tennis Association Tour event, something it last did in 1988. Since inception, the tournament has contributed millions to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Media Center. In 1991, the tournament established a second charity, Tennis for City Youth, which funds lessons, clinics, and leagues and provides equipment for 600 area children.
In 2010, the Paul Flory Player Center, the player and media facility at the tournament, was dedicated in honor of the tournament chairman.
The men's tournament, now called the Western & Southern Open, is one of only five tournaments in the world, outside of the Grand Slam, that features both ATP and WTA tournaments at elevated levels: ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5. The Lindner Family Tennis Center features 10 courts on 19 acres. It is in the final year of its three-year renovation, which features an expanded food court, significantly increased seating capacity and live entertainment. Also included in the 2012 renovations are an additional restroom facility located near the food court, a new First Aid building, and enhanced lighting for Center Court.
Mr. Flory died January 31, 2013, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 90.