Home Local Sports Remembering Gay: 6th annual memorial scholarship tournament honors educator’s impact

Remembering Gay: 6th annual memorial scholarship tournament honors educator’s impact

The 6th annual Gay Garris Rhyne (right) Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on Nov. 5. (Contributed photo)

WAGRAM — A golf outing early next month will serve as a reunion for friends, family members and colleagues to remember and honor one of Richmond County’s educators.

The sixth annual Gay Garris Rhyne Memorial Golf Tournament is set for Saturday, Nov. 5, at Deercroft Golf Club. 

This fall’s event, which will follow a captain’s choice format, will be the second straight year held on the golf course. The previous four years raised scholarship funds as a volleyball tournament.

Richard Wallace, who is the chairman of the Gay Garris Rhyne Memorial Scholarship, started the event in 2017, two years after Garris Rhyne passed away unexpectedly in July 2015.

A lifelong resident of Richmond County, Garris Rhyne called the Roberdel community home and was a health information technology instructor in Richmond Community College’s Allied Health program.

A 1982 graduate of Richmond Senior High School, Garris Rhyne attended and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. The founder of the Hot Mamas softball league in Ellerbe, Wallace explained that Garris Rhyne “enjoyed life and was loved by everyone who knew her.”

Dating Garris Rhyne at the time of her passing, Wallace said from the tragedy bloomed an opportunity to help local college students. Following a discussion with Garris Rhyne’s brother, Kyle Garris, and mother, Norma Gwen Garris, the RichmondCC scholarship was formed in Aug. 2017.

Two $500 scholarships are given out each school year, one during the fall semester and the other in the spring. Two requirements to qualify for the scholarship are the student must be in the Allied Health program, as well as be a single working parent with at least a 2.75 GPA.

The ultimate goal, Wallace explained, is to continue to add to the current bank of funding and reach $20K, which would turn the scholarship into an endowment.

“This tournament is another way for me to remember Gay and honor Gay for the person she was,” Wallace said. “Because she’d give the shirt off her back to anyone, and how she opened her house to other people, I want to help keep her memory alive.

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“I loved her and she was an awesome woman. I know Gay was loved by so many people and we’ve seen how much she touched the lives of others through the success of the scholarship. Each year we want to continue to celebrate her name and memory.” 

During the first few years of the memorial tournaments, the scholarship brought in between $1500 and $2000. Last year’s “last-minute” golf tournament raised a record $4500 with 14 teams.

Kyle Garris’ team won the tournament and donated the winnings back to the scholarship fund.

This year’s payouts will be $300 to the winning three-person team and $200 to the second-place finisher. Wallace said 24 teams are already signed up, and he anticipates between 26 and 28 trios of golfers participating.

The shotgun start will begin at 10 a.m. and it’s $180 per team to register. Door prizes and a 50-50 drawing, along with food and beverage carts will be available.

“I want everyone to enjoy the camaraderie,” Wallace said. “These events are a reunion for people who knew Gay and gives all of us a chance to pay our respects while raising money for a great cause.

“It’s just a really fun day and I’m glad the way people have come out in the past to support it. We’re hoping for a big turnout this year and I’m thankful for the way the community continues to pitch in.”

For those unable to attend, or who want to donate to the scholarship, donations are accepted through the RichmondCC Foundation. 

Donations can be mailed to the RichmondCC Foundation at 1042 West Hamlet Avenue and must be noted to be for the Gay Garris Rhyne Memorial Scholarship.

Questions can be directed at Wallace, who can be reached at 980-333-5347 or richardjwallace2@gmail.com.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.