The miss-you-every-day posts keep popping up, perhaps not as frequently as when we lost Dawn Coe-Jones last November, but enough to know that the daily thoughts of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member aren’t an exaggeration.
They come from A.J. Eathorne, now a mama working at Predator Ridge in Vernon, B.C., and other B.C. players such as Lisa Walters and Gail Graham, now residing in Florida where Coe-Jones lived with Jimmy and Jimmy, “Big” and “LIttle,” as she referred to her boys, although in recent years, father and son might want to swap nicknames since Little is a kid no more.
They come from Kelly Feltrin, Dawn’s longtime pal from her hometown of Lake Cowichan, B.C., Karin Mundinger in Ontario and Misty Sprehe Wright in Illinois, who I’ve never met personally, but she keeps me laughing regularly after getting to know her on Facebook through Dawn.
They come from former LPGA Tour player Nancy Scranton, who hung out with so many Canadians, including Dawn, that Canada should just give her citizenship.
Those are just some of the names whose posts I see regularly, not to mention this Facebook post from “Little” Jimmy, a dual citizen, prior to playing in Canadian Amateur just a few week’s back. He finished 13th, not too shabby.
Thoughts of Dawn will also be abundant this week at the CP Women’s Open at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, where she made her final appearance in the national women’s championship before retiring back in 2008.
The players will be wearing yellow ribbons this week, symbolic of the battle against cancer, specifically sarcoma, which took Dawn last year at the age of 56, much too young, thus triggering despair and confusion that motivates us to raise funds in an effort to one day eliminate what took her from us, which Dawn’s friends began doing while she was still alive.
The brain understands the reality of somebody being taken so young, but the heart takes much longer to heal after the loss of somebody so vibrant, somebody who reveled in her family and friends and wore a trademark smile, even while trash-talking somebdy who didn’t cheer for the same NHL team she did.
Being a Leafs fan, I was often on the receiving end of those zingers, but the truth be told, as much as Dawn was a noted Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning fan, she was a student of the game and knew everything that was going on, even with that nasty Toronto team. Occasionally, I’d get a call out of the blue from Tampa just to talk hockey after the initial verbal jabs.
The decision to honour Dawn this week at the CP Women’s Open is a wonderful one on the part of Golf Canada and CP, but even if it hadn’t happened, memories of Dawn still would have been active.
The last time the Women’s Open was at Ottawa Hunt, the second-last tournament of her LPGA career, Dawn was also in her element with all of her friends as Walters was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, seemingly a fitting way for her to go out, celebrating the accomplishments and success of a good friend.
She also did that last year when Brooke Henderson successfully defended her title at the Cambia Portland Classic, bringing her to three wins at the age of 18 at the time and tying her for career wins with Dawn.
“Thanks for reminding me of that,” deadpanned Dawn over the phone when I reached her for comment.
I couldn’t see it, but I knew the trademark smile was beaming on the other end of the line. As far as I know, the two players had never met, but even before Henderson made it to the LPGA, Dawn was a fan, often telling me to pass along a message to Henderson about how proud she was of her.
With her win in Grand Rapids earlier this season, Henderson brings now brings four career wins, including a major championship, into Ottawa Hunt, where she’s a member and will be the focus this week, being from nearby Smiths Falls.
Women’s golf will be on the marquee this week in Canadian sports and Dawn would be smiling knowing that, especially so if Henderson or any of other Canadians can become the first to win an LPGA event on home soil since Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973.
Dawn and players such as Graham, Walters and Jennifer Wyatt were bridges that carried on from Bourassa and Sandra Post, both dear friends of Coe-Jones, to contemporaries such as Lorie Kane and Alena Sharp, who both spoke so eloquently about the mentorship Dawn provided early in their careers.
At the same time, Dawn took great pride in watching young Canadians, not only Henderson, develop and succeed, even if it was from a distance, but she would never fail to ask about them if she got a call from Canada.
She will be on the minds of those who knew her and those who just heard about her this week at Ottawa Hunt, with players wearing the yellow ribbons to remember somebody taken much too young. That should motivate us to fight the good fight against a scourge that has touched so many of our lives.
On the other hand, Dawn enriched so many of our lives, such a quality person as a mom, wife, friend, hockey fan, golfer or supporter of young players just breaking in and she should be remembered with the trademark smile she had and provided to those she touched.
Judging by some of the memories I’m seeing and hearing, that is the case and it’s the way it should be.