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Friends, family pay tribute to true gentleman

Date: 6/30/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- Tony Strycharz was the embodiment of the word gentleman. He was a discrete philanthropist and a man who conformed to the highest standard of propriety, the definition of gentlemanly behavior, according to his family and friends.

Strycharz's passing several years ago inspired his closest friends and family to sponsor a golf tournament to honor his memory and philanthropic practices. This year's Tony Strycharz Memorial Golf Classic to benefit the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) will take place on July 19 at Oak Ridge Golf Club in Feeding Hills.

"Tony was a rare person," Paul Scheer, a good friend of Strycharz and an organizer of the tournament, said. "He was very accommodating and very charitable. He did things for people without them knowing and sponsored numerous events [as owner of the Oak Ridge Golf Club] and spent much of his time doing good for others."

Scheer noted that over 240 golfers participated in last year's tournament, which raised over $30,000 for BEF, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.

"[The previous success of this] tournament is a testament to my father, his character and the number of people he knew [in the Pioneer Valley]," Paul Strycharz, now owner of Oak Ridge Golf Club, also co-organizer of the tournament, said.

Tony's friend Jim Rosetta, a member of the BEF Board of Directors, also vice president and general manager of Imaging Systems Group, Canon U.S.A., explained that when his company relocated him to the area many years ago he joined Oak Ridge and was immediately welcomed into the Strycharz family.

"I was new in the area and he was the type of guy that would do anything for you," Rosetta said. "He was just the average guy who loved people [and] golf and he took me in . and made me feel so at home. He was like a second father to me."

Rosetta noted that he has since been transferred to the New York City area but never lost touch with the Strycharz family or the tournament. Canon is one of the tournament's gold sponsors, which requires a donation of $2,500.

Paul noted that even though this is a memorial golf tournament the day is not somber but celebratory of his father's life, his friends and family and the memories they made together.

The Tony Strycharz Memorial Golf Classic presents a full day of activities including breakfast and lunch, on-course refreshments, a celebrity challenge match and other special contests followed by the dinner and awards ceremony.

Scheer noted that past celebrities who participated in the challenge included professional athletes from the Toronto Blue Jays, Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. Individual registration costs $175. Those who only wish to attend the 5:30 p.m. dinner and awards ceremony including open bar must pay $50.

For more information about the Tony Strycharz Memorial Golf Classic, including sponsorship opportunities or to register for the tournament, contact Scheer at 733-5238 or Paul at 786-5886. Registration deadline is July 10.