It’s tough to turn tragedy into something positive.
But northwest resident Sue Lemke continues to do that following the sudden death of her husband, Larry Lemke, who collapsed while golfing on Feb. 1, 2011.
Larry, a 26-year coach and teacher in the Marana Unified School District, was a strong advocate for youth sports, having coached baseball, cross country, softball, basketball, and football. He believed in the positive influence that sports have on youths, and that’s something Sue continues to advocate for in order to honor his memory and provide needy students the opportunity to participate in sports.
Not long after his death, Sue started The Larry Lemke Athletic Scholarship Fund, designed to benefit students whose parents can’t afford the expenses that come with enrolling their child in school athletic programs.
In 2013, and again this year, she upped the ante by organizing a fundraiser golf tournament to better promote sports and to further increase scholarship donations.
Last year, the tournament saw more than 100 golfers and 15 volunteers participate, providing 98 students with athletic scholarships.
“No words can express how thankful I am for The Larry Lemke Scholarship Fund,” said one mother, whose son was selected as the beneficiary of a scholarship. “I am a single mother and a parent of an extraordinary son who is academically gifted and athletically talented. Due to some unfortunate events, we were placed in a situation of financial hardship and I didn’t know if my son would be able to participate in sports his senior year of high school. Thanks to the Larry Lemke scholarship he is able to be a vital part of his team. This scholarship has been the fuel for a dream come true.”
Last year, the event raised $7,000, with all proceeds divided equally to benefit students of Marana and Mountain View high schools and Tortolita and Marana middle schools. The goal is to raise even more money this year.
“My husband and I always understood how important it is for kids to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities,” said Sue. “That’s the whole goal of putting on this event.”
The golf tournament will be held at the El Conquistador Country Club on Feb. 8. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and golfing begins at 8:30 a.m. The tournament is best-ball scramble. There will be prizes, raffles, a silent auction, and goodie bags on scene.