There’s a story behind the red memorial edifice at Tom O’Leary Tennis Complex.
It’s the story of a young woman named Jackie Dockter, and the tournament going on around the memorial helps tell it.
“Jamie was my daughter, and she developed brain cancer in September 1999,” Jerry Dockter said. “She had surgery in Rochester and shortly after that time she unfortunately passed away on November 3.”
While she was alive, tennis was a passion of hers.
“Tennis was very important to her. She played at St Mary’s High School, and her junior year she took third in the state, and unfortunately was never given an opportunity to play her senior year.”
So back in 2000, several Bismarck community members approached Jerry, wanting to put on a tennis tournament in memory of Jackie.
“They just came to us in 2000 and asked if we would be in favor of something like that and we said fine but—I’m not smart enough to run a tennis tournament,” he said.
The Jackie Dockter Memorial Tennis Tournament is in its 17th year, and this year over 150 participants, young and old and from all over the country, came to play and honor Jackie.
“It really makes us feel really good because Jackie was a decent tennis player but she was also a very social person, and that’s why we have a social atmosphere,” Dockter said.
It’s a four-day event that clearly brings people together. And if Jackie was still alive today?
“This would’ve been something that would’ve been very humbling to her,” Dockter said.
The proceeds from the tournament are used to promote junior tennis in the area and to maintain the memorial to Jackie.