In 1955, Tom and Jane Lufkin moved to pacific Palisades from New York where they first began playing "backyard croquet". As a TV and advertising executive, Tom was soon a regular at Sam Goldwyn's fabled courts in Beverly Hills and thus began his lifetime obsession with building courts of his own. From his cliff-top lawns over-looking the Pacific in the 50's to the sand based bent grass beauty of a court in Santa Rosa today, Tom has waged his crusade by planting wickets on The Beverly Hills Water Department's lawn across from the Beverly Hills Hotel and the putting and bowling greens of San Francisco's Sigmund Stern Grove, founding croquet clubs along the way.
In 1970, during a San Francisco Opera Guild benefit croquet event in Atherton, the "West", led by Tom, Jane and ten Beverly Hills Croquet Club members met the "East", consisting of the New York Croquet Club's Jack Osborn (who, as irony would have it, was returning to his Western hometown of San Francisco) and Billy Harbach in an exhibition match. Croquet in America has never been the same since.
Tom has served as the Western Regional Vice President of the US Croquet Association since its inception in 1977. His contributions to the sport of croquet over the years have been many but none more pleasing than the croquet spirit and talent he and Jane have inspired in their son Mike who, like his Eastern friend's son John C. Osborn, has risen to the top of the rapidly growing croquet family in America.
Tom McDonnell was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 1986.
Tom McDonnell Passes into Croquet History in Croquet World Online