Annual Bearson golf fundraiser set for July 20

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by Dennis Dalman

news@thenewsleaders.com

Nearly five years ago, on Sept. 20, 2014, Tom Bearson of Sartell, was murdered while he was a freshman at North Dakota State University.

After being reported missing Sept. 21, his body was found abandoned in Moorhead by a recreational-vehicle sales-and-service business. The murder has still not been solved.

The killing of Tom Bearson sent shock waves through Sartell and beyond because it was almost inconceivable that a young man just launching into life with such fervor could be so brutally taken away. Bearson is gone, but his memory remains very much alive among all those who loved him and even among many who did not know him.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Tom Bearson Golf Outing fundraiser will take place on Saturday, July 20, at Blackberry Ridge Golf Course. Money raised will go to the Tom Bearson Foundation to be used for many programs that honor the memory of “Tommy.” People who participate in the event can enjoy golfing and dinner, or nongolfers can do just the dinner. The golf entry fee of $100 per person includes range pass, green fees, cart and dinner. For just the dinner, the cost is $20. For registration information, see the Tom Bearson Foundation website at www.tombearson.org/golf-outing.

On the day of the event, registration will begin at 11 a.m., and the tournament will start at 1 p.m. The dinner starts at 6 p.m. followed by door prizes and a silent auction. Free hot dogs will be available throughout the day.

Those who want to enjoy just the dinner only should email organizers at www.tombearsonfoundation@gmail.com.

What it funds

The Tom Bearson Foundation began five years ago by the family, loved ones and acquaintances of Tommy as a way to memorialize him and to help the pursuits that he cared passionately about.

The Foundation has given $9,000 in scholarships to area high school students, a total of $5,000 to Tom Bearson Spirit Award winners (a scholarship for students-athletes), $7,400 to Sartell High School’s girls and boys basketball teams, $13,500 to school safety programs, the honoring of the Tom Bearson Inspiration Award, $10,000 to the Sartell Area Youth Basketball Association and $81,000 to a refurbishing of the St. Francis Xavier School’s gymnasium.

The latter was especially a labor of love because Tom Bearson, a superb basketball player, spent so much time practicing and playing games in that gymnasium as he later did, with triumph, when he became a student at Sartell High School.

What it funds

The Tom Bearson Foundation began five years ago by the family, loved ones and acquaintances of Tommy as a way to memorialize him and to help the pursuits he cared passionately about.

The Foundation has given $9,000 in scholarships to area high school students, a total of $5,000 to Tom Bearson Spirit Award winners (a scholarship for students-athletes), $7,400 to Sartell High School’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams, $13,500 to school safety programs, the honoring of the Tom Bearson Inspiration Award, $10,000 to the Sartell Area Youth Basketball Association and $81,000 to a refurbishing of the St. Francis Xavier School’s gymnasium.

The latter was especially a labor of love because Tom Bearson, a superb basketball player, spent so much time practicing and playing games in that gymnasium as he later did, with triumph, when he became a student at Sartell High School.

‘Tommy’

People who knew Tom Bearson still reminisce with fondness about his passion for sports, his sense of humor and his unique charisma that impressed those who met him. He had only been at North Dakota State four weeks before his tragic death. Bearson was enrolled in the university’s nurse-anesthetist program.

He is the son of Greg and Debbie Bearson, longtime Sartell residents, and the brother of sister Maddie.

“Tom visited home exactly one week before he died,” the Debbie and Greg Bearson family wrote in a statement. “We had a beautiful time together watching home movies and talking about life. In hindsight, it’s ironic we had done those things. It was the first time we had ever watched home movies with him. We had no way of knowing we would never see him alive again. We thank God for that beautiful last weekend together. It truly was a blessing. Our only disappointment is that his sister wasn’t there to share it with us.”

photo from Tom Bearson Foundation
This is Tommy Bearson waving on the front steps of his home on the morning of his first day in school.

Author: Dennis Dalman

news@thenewsleaders.com

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.

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