Table tennis pro visits Syracuse

By Charlene Hoeflich

March 12, 2014

SYRACUSE — “It takes lots of time and effort, and lots of support,” John Tannehill said last Sunday when speaking briefly at the Syracuse Community Center, where he put on an ping pong exhibition with his son, Soren, at the invitation of the center’s board of directors.

The graduate of Middleport High School was playing table tennis before he became a teenager, and with his father’s support and advice that he could “do anything he wanted to do if he worked at it,” he quickly rose to professional status.

In brief comments Sunday, he talked about the time, effort and hours he put into practice and the support he received. His father, Chet Tannehill, who was managing editor at Ohio Valley Publishing Co. for many years, drove his son to Columbus every weekend, where he honed his skills in table tennis with support of others who recognized his talent.

A highlight of his career came in 1969 when he earned a spot on the U.S. World Team that competed in a tournament in China in 1972. It was just one of his many accomplishments in the world of table tennis. In 2005, he was inducted into the Table Tennis Hall of Fame. He still competes in area tournaments.

About 70 people gathered Sunday in the Community Center’s gymnasium to watch the two Tannehills play the game. Joy Bentley introduced Tannehill to the audience and called the scores for the exhibition between the two. A display board featured newspaper articles written over the years.

Middleport Mayor Mike Gerlach presented a certificate of appreciation and recognition from the village where Tannehill spent his early years.

A reception honoring him and a time for greeting local acquaintances concluded the afternoon.