A Personal Remembrance
(by Robert McGurk)
Lake Arrowhead lost a long time resident, recipient of the Order of the Arrowhead Award and unofficial “Artist in Residence” with the passing of Jim Bennett in August. Jim’s art graced the LAPOA Annual Christmas Ornament for 15 years and his framed prints raised money at Charity Auctions for Angel House, Knights of Columbus, and the Kathy B. Davis Foundation. His art has been on display in the West Wing of the White House in Washington, D.C. As you go through life there are people you meet and get to know that become part of your life. You often don’t know how it happens or why, but you realize they are special and your relationship with them makes you a better person. Sometimes it happens too late, and you realize it after they are gone from your life. Sometimes it happens while they are part of your life and you have the opportunity to cherish the relationship knowing in your heart how special it is. I was fortunate. I realized that Jim Bennett was a special part of my life very early in our friendship. I knew about Jim Bennett long before I met him. When we bought our home in Lake Arrowhead someone had mentioned that we should get a Christmas Ornament by a local artist who draws scenes of Lake Arrowhead. They said it was a really big deal in the community. We didn’t get one that first year and honestly, I wondered what the big deal was about them. I had the opportunity to meet Jimmy through the Lake Arrowhead Men’s Golf Association and later his wife, Dolores, through my wife’s book club. Over the past 8 years I have spent time with them at our home, dinner and events at the Clubhouse, Flowers for a Purpose sessions, KBD Foundation and Special Olympics events. As time passed, Jim (and Dolores) just became part of my life, always smiling, always happy to see me, always happy to tell (and re-tell) the same crazy jokes and stories. My experience became the same as so many others’ in Lake Arrowhead: when you knew Jimmy, he was simply part of your life. Jimmy taught me a lot of things; how to meet girls, not that I need to know that now, but it would have been handy when I was young (Turn your collar up and more likely than not a nice girl will offer to fix it for you), how far an 80+ year old man can hit a golf ball off the tee (if you know how to run the ball down the cart path), how to “Strut off the Tee” when you have the long drive in a foursome, and how you are never too old to do what you want to do. He showed the world his talent with a pen, ink and a piece of paper, and his generosity by donating his time and talents to help people. My lasting memory of Jimmy however, is of his smile, the twinkle in his eye and his genuine love of his family and wonderful wife of 60 years, Dolores. We went to a funeral together several years ago and had two hours alone in the car. We talked about his life, my life, our families, how lucky we were to be married to our wonderful wives and at the end of the conversation he said something that has stayed with me since... he said, ” We spend our lives getting prepared for life events: marriage, kids, career and retirement, Most of us don’t spend any time getting prepared for death. We need to be at peace with God and if we are everything will be ok”. The death of his very good friend Andrew Duncan had an impact on Jim and as he battled his illness he did it with grace. Jimmy had one last mission to finish; “Miss you Buddy” his last pen and ink drawing of the Lake Arrowhead Men’s Golf Association Memorial Bench that hangs in the Pro Shop and my home office. True to his generous nature, he had a print made as a gift for all the family members of the men memorialized on the bench and agreed to let me sell copies of the print to raise money for Angel House. I treasured Jimmy while he was with us, and I treasure his memory now that he is with his God. I told him many times, “I want to be you when I grow up”. I don’t think I will ever be like him, but I intend to keep trying. I will miss you Jimmy, we all will, but you are always in the hearts of everyone whose life you touched and taking your lead I am at Peace with God and trust everything will be okay.
Mark your calendars for our 2024 season of Special Olympics Golf Tournaments to be held on March 25th at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens and tba in September at Lake Arrowhead Yacht & Country Club in Waleska Georgia. For more info contact Dave Davis at email@example.com
Dave's original goal was to reach out to the community to bring together people from all walks of life, focusing on enriching the lives of others, as Kathy always did. The success of the foundation's initial programs drove Dave to expand on Kathy’s dedication to the special needs population and grow the organization’s sphere to include senior citizens and area volunteers who had a desire to serve their neighbors.
What We Do
Flowers for a Purpose
Flowers for a Purpose brings together people with intellectual/developmental challenges and area senior citizens who want to learn about flowers and create beautiful floral
arrangements. The finished bouquets are then shared with the participants and other community members to brighten their days
Caring During COVID
If there is one thing 2020 has taught us, it is the importance of human interaction. Click here to see how Flowers for a Purpose volunteers have adapted their monthly efforts to stay connected to the community they serve.
Special Olympics Golf
The Kathy B. Davis Foundation supports Special Olympics through donations and providing training to Special Olympians who want to learn the game of golf and play in Special Olympic Golf Tournaments. KBDF is the proud sponsor of two Regional Special Olympic Golf Tournaments in 2023 and works closely with Georgia Special Olympics to adhere to all Special Olympics requirements.