By Tiffany Merlo Phelps
Marie Maguire loves to play pickleball and has been doing so for three years. When she discovered that the Brown Family YMCA was building five state-of-the-art outdoor pickleball courts, she was quite excited as a longtime member for the finished project. Little did she know that the courts would be dedicated to her family and known as the Maguire Family Pickleball Center, courtesy of the Newman Family Foundation.
Maguire was told the news a few days prior to the July ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Y.
“I was shocked. I started to cry when I found out,” said Maguire, adding that the Y is very special to the family. “The courts are beautiful and truly wonderful to play on — for everyone.”
The Maguire and Newman family connection has deep roots. Chuck Newman Sr. first met the late Rich Maguire in 1970 during a one-year isolated duty with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in the Arctic Circle.
“Rich was my commanding officer,” said Newman Sr.
Later, Rich and Marie and Chuck and his wife Diane became very close. In fact, Rich was the best man at the Newmans’ wedding, and Marie was the maid of honor.
While the men eventually went their separate ways, the two families remained close. When it was time for Rich to retire from the USCG after 20 years of service, and he was looking for a place to live, the Newmans, who had been living in Ponte Vedra Beach since 1985, eagerly hoped the Maguires would join them. And they did in 1988.
The families reconnected and soon Rich and Chuck joined forces to fundraise for many community projects including establishing the YMCA in Ponte Vedra Beach at 170 Landrum Lane in 1999. Chuck credits Rich, who was often referred to as “Mr. Y,” with being a strong leader through every project and always putting the community first. Rich was chairman and board member of the then-Winston Family YMCA (now Brown) and Ponte Vedra Rotary Club president, just to name a few of his volunteer positions.
“Everything Rich did, he did well, and he took it very seriously. He was a great leader,” said Chuck, who also served as a board chairman at the Y.
Rich was 67 years old when he passed away suddenly on Dec. 25, 2013, leaving both families devastated.
Newman Family Foundation member Angelique Newman, Chuck and Diane’s daughter-in-law, who has served as a Brown Family YMCA board member, chairman and capital campaign committee member over the years, said the pickleball courts offered the perfect opportunity to both honor the Maguire family and to bring community members together. She presented the idea to fund the pickleball courts to the foundation and received unanimous approval. The exact amount donated by the Newman Family Foundation is being kept private.
Angelique said with Marie loving pickleball and the servant hearts of Marie, Rich and their two adult sons, one a police officer and another an attorney (formerly a public defender), the dedication was a natural choice.
Matthew Maguire said the dedication of the pickleball courts in his father’s name is a testament to the love and respect between both families.
“My dad was an amazing person, and my family is honored and grateful for this incredible gift,” he said.
Marie added that the Newman Family Foundation reflects the same message that Rich embraced. “He gave us all the idea of volunteerism and the importance of giving to others,” she said.
The Newmans, who started the foundation in 1999, are now working to pass that sentiment onto the next generation. The foundation includes Chuck and Diane’s adult children, spouses and, upon reaching 18 years of age, the grandchildren.
Brown Family YMCA Executive Director Charlie Chacos said he is incredibly grateful to both families for their continued support and dedication over the years.
“Both of these families have gone all in with us over the years. Not only for the Y but for the entire community,” he said. “We are so lucky to have their support.”
[Author’s note: For more information about how to join the Y Pickleball Club (which also includes three indoor courts) or to contribute to the capital campaign, email Charlie Chacos at CCHacos@fcymca.org.]
Photo submitted by the Brown Family YMCA and one submitted by Marie Maguire
Diane Newman, Marie Maguire, Chuck Newman and Charlie Chacos.