Golf Tourney Pays Tribute to Rew

The winning team in the first flight of the H.B. Rew Jr. Tournament held at the Eastern Shore Yacht & Country Club included (from left), Bill Chandler, John Morgan, Dave Griffith, and Tom Watkins. Submitted photo.

By Bill Sterling

Special to the Eastern Shore Post

A full field of 86 golfers, beautiful fall weather, and wonderful memories paying tribute to a revered benefactor were the highlights of the 31st annual H.B. Rew Jr. Golf Tournament held at the Eastern Shore Yacht & Country Club on Oct. 4. The tournament is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Eastern Shore Community College Foundation.

Rew, who passed away in May of this year at the age of 88, was a longtime supporter of Eastern Shore Community College and served on the Foundation Board from 1990 to 2003. An avid golfer, Rew organized the golf tournament in 1988; it was named in his honor, helping to raise funds for student scholarships, the Project Horizons program to benefit at-risk youth, program expansion, and facility improvements at the college.

Winning the first flight of the advance best ball format was the foursome of Bill Chandler, John Morgan, Dave Griffith, and Tom Watkins. Finishing second in the first flight one stroke behind were John Fiege, Glenwood Pruitt, Sinjin Jones, and Matt Parker.

Winning the second flight were Tom Hare, Steve McClaskey, Frank Grande, and Rick Haug. Runners-up in the second flight were Jim James, Terris Kennedy, Margie Byrd, and Paul Hughes.

The “Rew” foursome included Rew’s son, Benji, who wore his father’s familiar plaid hat, Benji’s wife, Elise, and Rew’s granddaughter, Claire Rew Eder, and grandson-in-law, Ian McLean.

Gerald Davis, 86, and longtime golf partner who played thousands of
rounds with H.B Rew, won the putting contest at the H.B. Rew Jr. Golf
Tournament to benefit the Eastern Shore Community College Foundation.
Submitted photo.

Winning the putting contest and the $200 first prize was Rew’s longtime partner in this tournament, Gerald Davis, 86. “H.B. and I played this tournament every year it has been held, so it was special for me to win the putting contest,” said Davis, who estimates he has played “thousands of rounds” with Rew, averaging three to four times a week for the past 40 years.

Davis and Rew won the 2018 tournament along with playing partners Vince Piazza and Herb Barnes, all in their 80s, and finished runner-up last year with Rick Matthews substituting for Barnes. “We were putting lights out the year we won it and made 18 birdies that day,” said Davis. “Last year, H.B. could only putt, but he helped the team quite a bit. He was quite a character, and I have many great memories with him on and off the golf course.”

Davis, who now has a 16 handicap after he and Rew once both played to a 6 handicap, said he beat his much younger competitors in this year’s putting contest with a 75-foot putt that stopped a foot from the hole, six inches better than a putt by scratch golfer and 20-something Sinjin Jones. “I guess it was meant to be,” said Davis.

Julie Badger, who worked with Rew at Farmers and Merchants Bank, and George McMath, a lifelong friend of Rew’s, paid tribute to a man whom they said had a profound effect on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

McMath said Rew often stated, “ ‘I am who I am.’ We are glad he was who he was and for the benefit of the Eastern Shore thankful for his passing this way.”

McMath added, “He was a man of the highest values and never met a stranger.” McMath noted Rew was the co-founder of the highly successful Seafood Festival sponsored by the chamber of commerce, president and CEO of Farmers and Merchants Bank in Onley, president of the Virginia Bankers Association, Worshipful Master of the Onley Masonic Lodge and District Deputy Grand Master, an active member of Drummondtown    Baptist Church, and treasurer for 30 years for the Accomack-Northampton Baptist Association.

Patty Kellam, executive director of the ESCC Foundation, said, “I was thrilled with the turnout of golfers and the huge show of support from our 41 sponsors. It really reinforced for us the value that our local business community sees in the college, and we are grateful to all who supported the tournament as players, sponsors, prize donors, and contestants for our various raffles.”

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