Howie Blessin died from oral cancer in 1998, and golfers continue to raise money in his memory at an annual tournament hosted by the Surrey-based company he founded and once co-owned. (submitted photo)

For a 20th year, golfers memorialize Surrey business owner killed by cancer

Annual tourney pays tribute to Howie Blessin, who wasn’t an avid golfer but employed people who are

For a 20th year, golfers will drive, chip and putt in Howie Blessin’s memory.

A memorial tournament is hosted annually by Oakmont Industries Ltd., a Port Kells-area business once co-owned by Blessin.

Howie wasn’t an avid golfer, but employees at the door manufacturer do play the game, and they launched a golf fundraiser in 1998, the year he died of oral cancer.

“Two or three guys from the shipping department asked if it was OK to do a golf tournament in his name, and that first year we had around 20 golfers out,” recalled Jim Blessin, Howie’s brother.

This year, the Howie Blessin Memorial Golf Tournament will be played Friday (Aug. 24) at the Meadow Gardens course in Pitt Meadows, a new location for the event.

The tourney has raised more than $337,000 for BC Cancer Foundation over the past 19 years, “helping fuel the latest breakthroughs in cancer research and care and bring new hope to families facing the disease,” according to the foundation.

Every year, more than 120 golfers now take part in the tournament.

“I run the putting contest and my wife golfs,” said Blessin, a former Surrey resident who now lives in Fort Langley.

Howie founded and co-owned Oakmont, which was sold to an American company following his death, Jim said. Other changes in ownership followed over the past two decades, including Jim’s control of the company for a time, and the tournament has kept going all along, he explained.

“It shows the respect and love of so many, not just family but suppliers and customers,” he noted. “Some of the biggest customers really support the tournament, which is great.… We have huge support form the customer base, not just suppliers.”

Blessin said the tournament continues to be a testament to how well-known and loved his brother was in the community.

“Howie had a zest for life that did not even fail when he was diagnosed with oral cancer,” he stated in a BC Cancer Foundation release. “He was an exceptional person who was always keeping everyone’s spirits up despite what he was going through. Every year, we tee off in honour of Howie.”

BC Cancer Foundation also benefits from the yearly Ride to Conquer Cancer, which rolls out for another year on Saturday, Aug. 25, starting at Cloverdale Fairgrounds. The two-day fundraiser involves a 200-kilometre ride by thousands of cyclists, from Surrey to Hope.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Medea Ebrahimian mourned by friends and family

Memorial held for one the of three found dead at a house fire in Langley Meadows last month

LETTER: Politicians should be held accountable for their decisions

Another letter writer is critical of Langley Township’s handling of the Yorkson community park

Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce to hold series of COVID-related webinars

Tourism updates, Canada Emergency Response Benefit details, and public speaking workshops expected

Langley seniors centre offers food care and tax help but no recreation

The seniors facility has announced a partial reopening with limited services

17-year-old Langley resident Dylan Patterson earns free Chevy Malibu

Integra Tire owner Peter Foreman held an essay contest to determine a fitting recipient for the car

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read