A very special golf tournament started 25 years ago to help a community carry on the only way it knew how in the face of a tragedy.
That tournament, the Gary Wayne Schoen Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament, takes place July 24–26 at Perry Country Club in Hamilton. As a senior at Hamilton High School, Schoen won the 1987 Class 2A state golf championship, the first in school history. He was a student at the University of Texas-San Antonio when he was killed in an automobile accident in October 1989.
The next summer, his family and friends started the invitational tournament in his honor. “It’s not a golf tournament, it’s a reunion,” says his father, Gary Schoen Sr., a businessman and rancher and member of Hamilton County Electric Cooperative. “All the kids he went to school with come to Hamilton for that tournament.”
The proceeds from the tournament benefit graduates from Hamilton High. To date, $70,400 in scholarships has been given to 58 students.
That positive note helps Gary Schoen Sr. work through his pain. “I think about him every day,” he says. He believes his son would be honored by the tournament. “I think he would say this is tremendous work that people are doing in memory of him. He smiles every year when we get together.”