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In Norma's honor: DiMarcos Unite to Keep Event Going

Mike and Patty McMillan TeeShotproductions

November 2, 2009

By Laury Livsey, PGA TOUR Staff

The Norma DiMarco Tee Up for Life Golf Tournament that benefits the American Cancer Society is something of a family affair -- most notably a DiMarco family affair.

Norma DiMarco, who passed away in 2006, is honored with her name on the event, Norma's husband, Rich, as tournament chair, is involved in every aspect of the nine-year-old event, and Rich and Norma's two oldest sons, Rich Jr. and Mitch, also have large roles. Then there's the baby of the family. That would be Chris, the U.S. Presidents Cup hero, the winner of three PGA TOUR titles and the tournament's unofficial host.

The DiMarcos gathered again Sunday and Monday at Heathrow Country Club near Orlando, Fla., for the benefit tournament as they remember their wife and mother while doing their best to generate funds to help children and teenagers suffering from cancer.

"Norma was very, very involved in the administration of the tournament until she died," said Rich, the family patriarch. "We were co-chairs together, and it was very emotional for me when I lost her, when my family lost her. She was such a big part of this tournament that we decided to do it in her honor, in her memory." Norma DiMarco died of a heart attack. She was 68.

"Chris wants to make sure that we don't let her memory die," said DiMarco family friend Greg Warmoth, a WFTV morning news anchor in Orlando and tournament committee member. "It's why we honor Chris' mom with a toast before every meeting we hold."

Norma DiMarco died of a heart attack. She was 68.

"This tournament was pretty much my mom's passion, and by naming the tournament after her, it's my way of honoring her," Chris DiMarco said.

Rich, a retired food-service company executive, and Norma had run a smaller benefiting-cancer golf tournament earlier in their married life, and the couple decided to revive their original concept with a new-and-improved tournament in 2001. After the first year, Chris went to his parents and told them he wanted to get involved.

Even Chris and Amy DiMarco's children -- Cristian, Amanda and Abigale -- have played a role. For Amanda's ninth birthday, the DiMarcos invited 45 kids from their daughter's grade at school to a party.

"But the last thing we wanted was for all 45 kids to bring Amanda a $10 or $20, gift, whatever it would cost," Chris said. "So we talked to Amanda, and she agreed that we would ask everybody who was invited to make a donation to the Cancer Society instead of bringing a present. My daughter raised a lot of money that day, and I was really proud of her."

Since the tournament's first donation of $85,000 to the American Cancer Society -- also counting Amanda's contribution -- the Norma DiMarco Tee Up for Life Golf Tournament has generated in excess of $4 million in nine years.

"I'm bewildered. I have to be honest with you," Rich said of the tournament's success. "I'm just thrilled with what we've been able to do. It's an emotional thing for me and for my kids. I have no doubt my wife is looking down on us and feeling very good about what's going on."

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