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

Just Posted

LETTER: Different taxation system necessary

Langley Township taxpayer argues that taxes shouldn’t be based on assessed home values

VIDEO: Maple syrup taffy among treats and demos at 11th annual Vive les Voyageurs festival

Fort Langley National Historic Site celebrated French Canadians and Métis fur traders

Surrey-Langley SkyTrain business case to go to mayor’s council next week

Also plans for agreement that ‘commits’ Surrey to policies, initiatives to help ensure project’s success

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Most Read