A new memorial golf tournament scheduled for late August will celebrate the life and accomplishments of JCPRD’s former director and raise funds for the foundation that continues to support his vision.
The first-ever Gary L. Haller Memorial Golf Tournament will take place on Friday, Aug. 20, at the Tomahawk Hills Golf Course, 17501 Midland Drive, Shawnee.
Haller served as JCPRD’s director from August 1974 until he retired in March 2001. He passed away on Dec. 10, 2020.
“Over his 27 years of directorship for JCPRD, Gary was recognized at the highest agency and individual levels in park and recreation,” said JCPRD Administration Manager and event organizer Jo Ann Courtney. “He made many friends locally, regionally, and nationally through his love and leadership in the parks and recreation arena. Without a doubt, Gary left JCPRD and Johnson County better than he found it. (This event) “will be a sort of reunion of former JCPRD employees and friends who worked with Gary over his career with JCPRD and a chance to say goodbye since services were limited to family only due to the coronavirus (at the time of his death in December).”
Depending on the response, it is the intent to make this tournament an annual event. Courtney said the idea for the tournament was presented to Haller’s Widow, Vicki Haller, who whole-heartedly supported it.
“Gary and Vicki lived across from Tomahawk Hills Golf Course and (he) was a frequent golfer,” Courtney said. “Often in the evenings, he and his trusted dog Herk would roam the hills and valleys of the course. Through his efforts, he grew the game of golf in Johnson County, including securing the funding for JCPRD’s second golf course, Heritage Park Golf Course, and overseeing both courses during his tenure.”
The foundation benefitting from the tournament also relates to Haller’s efforts at JCPRD.
“Net proceeds from the tournament will benefit The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County” said Erika Seward, executive director of the foundation. “It was Gary’s vision that led to the creation of the foundation which promotes the development and sustainability of parks, trails, green space, recreation, and the arts through advocacy and financial support. He served as a member throughout his career and remained a strong supporter after retirement.”
Check in for the tournament will begin at noon on Aug. 20, with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Registration fees are $100 for individuals and $400 for teams of four. Registration includes green fees, cart rental, light lunch, swag bag, prizes, and tickets for each player to the memorial awards and dinner banquet immediately following the tournament. There is limited space for golfers and banquet guests. To register or for more information, go to jcprdfoundation.org/golf.
There are also opportunities to sponsor a golf hole, beverage cart, and more, as well as opportunities for non-golfers to get involved.
“Golfers and nongolfers can participate through volunteering to help with the tournament or by attendance at a memorial banquet following the tournament,” Seward said. “Players and nonplayers are invited.”