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Monday, August 12, 2002
Chaffee was highly ranked during 1950s
Associated Press


LOS ANGELES -- Nancy Chaffee, a highly ranked tennis player in the 1950s, has died of complications from cancer. She was 73.

Longtime ABC and CBS sportscaster Jack Whitaker, married to Chaffee the past 11 years, said his wife died early Sunday in Coronado, Calif., where she was visiting her daughter, Kathryn Freeman, who was vacationing there.

"Anybody who knew her can tell you she was outgoing and honest, a terrific person, the best friend I ever had," Whitaker said Monday from the family home in Indian Wells, Calif. "She was just the same with royalty as she was with the gardener."

Whitaker said his wife was diagnosed with cancer six months ago -- on Valentine's Day.

Chaffee was ranked as high as fourth in the world, Whitaker said. She was a three-time national indoor champion and won the national junior championship twice.

In the late 1940s, Chaffee played on the men's tennis team at the University of Southern California, which didn't have a women's team at the time.

Chaffee was previously married to baseball Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner and the couple had three children -- 49-year-old Michael, 47-year-old Scott, and 44-year-old Kathryn, who is married to golf professional Robin Freeman. All three of her children live in Palm Desert, Calif.

Chaffee is also survived by five grandchildren.

Whitaker said a funeral service will be held Friday in Palm Desert.