Induction Year: 1988
Wilbur Eugene Hess (1913-1992) started playing tennis at age 7 on a summer vacation to Seattle, Washington. While attending Central High School in Fort Worth, he won the city, district and state high school singles. As a senior in 1931, he was ranked 12th in national juniors. From 1933 to 1935 he played at Rice Institute. While at Rice he won the Intercollegiate Singles Championship (now called the National Collegiate or NCAA) his senior year, losing only one set.
Shortly after graduating from Rice in 1935, Hess became a junior member at Houston Country Club. He became a stockholding member in 1948. As a junior member, he won the club singles championship in 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1948. He won the doubles championship twelve times: in the 1940s with James Addison Baker Jr., the early 1950s with Francis Wood Humphrys, and in the late 1950s and early 1960s with Robert William Krutz. Hess played top-flight tennis in the U.S. and Canada for years, winning many honors and ranking as high as No. 16 nationally as late as 1945. He continued his interest in tennis as a patron of junior programs.