Rich Olive loved golf. He loved it from the time he was a kid, and it was a passion for him through his adult life. According to his wife Marian, the day they moved into a home next to the golf course was one of the happiest of his life.
It’s been a little over a year since the community lost to cancer the man who was sometimes called “Mr. Story City.” On Saturday, July 29, River Bend Golf Course will host the Rich Olive Memorial Golf Tournament in his honor, and the funds raised will benefit two causes that were both close to Rich’s heart.
Funds will be used to help complete the cart path at Story City’s golf course and also donated to Bliss Cancer Center, where Rich was treated for his illness.
“Rich just couldn’t say enough good things about the care he received at Bliss Cancer Center,” Marian said. “His nurses, doctors, radiologists — they all made a bad experience bearable.”
The teams for the golf tournament are full, but the public can still attend the event or support the causes.
“People can still donate or buy a T-shirt if they want to support the cause,” Marian said. T-shirts were designed by PDG in Story City and are available for $20.
“We’ve had so many people who have been so supportive,” Marian said. So many people signed up to golf, organizers added a second start time, 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Rich was a life-long golfer. When he got a set of golf clubs as a gift from his Uncle Lee around the time he was in junior high, Rich got serious about the game.
Rich Olive was in high school when the golf course was built. Fathers and sons helped with the construction of the course; Rich and his dad, Bill, and his brother Curt were among those who worked on the project.
In recent years, Rich had golfed regularly with a group that called themselves TGIF – Thank Golf It’s Friday. “He loved those guys like brothers,” Marian said.
“Rich loved that golf is a gentleman’s game,” Marian said. “He loved the etiquette of it. He also loved playing against himself, improving his own game instead of comparing himself to the other players.”
As a member of the Iowa Senate, Rich would hold Senator Olive Opens to help him meet constituents and campaign.
“We would have golf carts parked all the way down our driveway,” Marian said.
The public is invited to the golf tournament on Saturday even if they’re not golfing.
“There will be Captain specials,” Marian said. “Rich was known for drinking Captain and Diet Coke.”
There will also be a photo opportunity with Rich’s cutout that he used in parades when he was campaigning.
Rich’s driver will be sold in a silent auction ending at 6 p.m.
“Outside of family and business, golf was his life,” Marian said. That family includes three daughters, Nicole Engelhardt, Michelle Tjelmeland and Suzanne Hansen, and 11 grandchildren.
“My family is very competitive and that all came from Rich,” Marian said.
Family friend and one of the tourney organizers, Mary Ness said, “I was always in awe of Rich’s ability to guide Story City and develop Story City.”
“Rich made people feel good to be around him,” Ness said. “He was genuine and his personality was warm and welcoming. He was a fun and happy person.”