Sunday, May 20, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel

On the Town: Farr tourney celebrates its 25th year

What a beautiful week. The 25th annual Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger was another success with great weather and great golf as volunteers and sponsors joined together to make it all happen again.

And the biggest volunteer, tournament host Jamie Farr, was right in the thick of it all, rising early and going to bed late, all in the line of duty. Mr. Farr is a blessing to the community and a grand example to others on being responsible and giving back to the community in which he was reared. More than 1,200 volunteers stepped up to the tee too in helping along with some 200 sponsors. While the rumors are that, because of the economy, this is the farewell tournament, there has been no confirmation, and the decision will not be made for awhile.

During the Hylant Group Gala Dinner, An Evening of Laughter, Tuesday night at SeaGate Centre, Mr. Farr said, Let s go another 25 years! I have wheelchair, will travel.

And he had lots of support including comedian Tom Dreesen, who was at the first Farr tourney and singer-impressionist Scott Record. Celebrity guests also included Christine Brennan and Chuck Ealey.

In addition to marking the tournament s 25th anniversary, it is the 75th anniversary of the Hylant Group and the 75th birthday of Mr. Farr, who received a birthday cake from the Pink Panther as everyone sang Happy Birthday and gave him a standing ovation. Michael Bolton, who was at the Farr tournament a few years ago, sent birthday greetings via video.

Pink and white flowers graced the black linen-covered tables set with candlelight and centered with buckets of pink champagne. Even the salad dressing was pink, to match the napkins and logo cake. More than 1,600 reservations were made, which meant some 200 wait staffers.

Nancy Lopez, who didn t play in the tournament this year, but came anyway, said she hopes the tournament is here for many, many years to come.

Paula Creamer, defending champion, said Mr. Farr is her hero and that she wants to do this in her home town.

Judd Silverman, tournament director, welcomed and thanked everyone.

A standing ovation was given to Don Michel, underwriter, with other McDonald franchisees, for the first two tournaments. The Kroger Co. has been a sponsor for all 25 years, said Mike Thamen of Owens Corning, this year s general chairman, who credited everyone involved with the event s success, noting more than 30,000 have volunteered over its history.

It was announced at the dinner that golfer Se Re Pak and 47 other South Korean golfers on tour each wrote a check to total $13,570 to Ronald McDonald House.

Diane Larson of WTVG, Channel 13, was the emcee, and the sports host was Rob Powers also of 13. The auctioneer was Jerry Anderson of WTOL-TV Channel 11. Lee Conklin of Channel 13 assisted with the silent auction.

Silent auction items included golf packages to area courses, including Inverness and Stone Oak country clubs. The live auction included tickets to the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game at the new Yankee Stadium, Ritz- Carlton U.S. accommodations, and Rolex watches courtesy of Harold Jaffe Jewelers.

Gala chairmen were Marsha Schroeder and Karen Szymanski.

Seen were Carol and Mike Anderson, Don and Mary Decker, Don and Diane Breese, Carty and Amy Finkbeiner, and Jeff Cole and Jenny Miranda.

Charities that will reap the benefits this year include the Arts Commission of Toledo Central City Ministry, Easter Seals of Northern Ohio, Gabby s Ladder, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Mobile Meals of Toledo, Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation, Rusty s House, YWCA of Greater Toledo, JFOCC Scholarship Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In addition to the title sponsors, hall of fame sponsors included 3M, 5/3 Bank, The Blade, Brooks Insurance, Heidelberg Distributing Co., Huntington Bank, the Image Group, KeyBank, McDonald s Restaurants of NW Ohio and SE Michigan, Mercy Health Partners, 0-I, Pepsi Americas, ProMedica Health System, Taylor Automotive Group, Toledo Edison, and Xerox. There were more than 200 sponsors.

Stan Odesky, a media volunteer who worked on his July 4th birthday then went to the top of Flower Hospital for fireworks.

Meanwhile, Mr. Farr and his wife, Joy, entertained celebrities of the tournament, at Treo, Beirut, Mancy s Steakhouse, Mancy s Blue Water Grille, and LaScolla.

The Farrs lunched at Packo s in Sylvania and at Mac & Tong s Place.

Monday was the Mercy Health Partners/St. Luke s Hospital/Lucas County Health Communities Foundation Pro-Am; the Key Bank Putting Pro-Am at Highland Meadows, and the Aquafina Junior Pro-Am all at Highland Meadows.

Tuesday was the Toledo Edison/ProMedica Health System Pro-Am at Inverness Club. Back at Highland Meadows was the Image Group Celebrity/Pro Challenge and the Ronald McDonald House LPGA Junior Clinic. The O-I Celebrity Pro-Am was Wednesday.

Seen golfing during the week were Jim Murray, Tom McHugh, Mike Hart, Alan Brass, Bill Kitson, Brian Buecher, Mike Hyland, Steve Mickus, John Levine, and many more.

Gab, gab, gab, quiet please, gab gab gab, quiet please! Spectators were everywhere and it was a social affair on the clubhouse patio and the champions tent deck, and in the sky box where Jim King, who has volunteered for 23 years, guarded the entrance along with many others, including Becky Brott, Crystal Jordan, Erin McCarthy, and Stephen Herman.

Seen during the week were Kenny and Deborah Knight, Ron Coffman, and Sharon Simmons, Bernie and Dorothy Welniak, Jim and Kristine Hoffman, Lisa and Bob McPherson, Dortha and Jerry Baum, and many others, including Jennifer Bembry and Terri Romel.

Barb Gessel, who after being on the winning team in Monday s Pro-Am, was beaming all week long. Jane Larsen volunteered as a walking scorer and has hosted a golfer for 15 years.

And the fun was not just at the tournament. Tracy Morgan, across the street from Highland Meadows, hosted a caddies corner for pro caddies last night. His son, Charlie, 11, helped out too. Also last night, Kim Lulu Cooper and Jimmy Heniger hosted their annual party next door to Highland Meadows for a few hundred of their closest friends.

Sunday s tourney, won by Eunjung Yi, was followed by a volunteer party. Dick Flaskamp, volunteer chairman, has volunteered for 16 years and loves it and is looking forward to returning next year.

So, fans and volunteers, are we going to pull together to make the biggest charity event in T-town happen again next year?

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