George Rouches squinted through the sunlight at the stone column dedicated to him Wednesday at the fifth hole of the Indian Creek Golf Course.
Rouches’ blue hat cast a shadow over his face in the nearly 100-degree heat.
“Little early for a tombstone, don’t you think?” he said.
The assembled crowd burst into a cathartic guffaw at his remark. Many of Rouches’ friends had traveled from Portland for the dedication.
For the attendees, though, it was more than just a ceremony. It was another chance to see their friend alive. Rouches has colon cancer.
The plaque on the stone column read: “Tee one up for George Rouches.”
His friend, Paul Thompson, did just that, swatting a golf ball towards the green, groaning as it sliced to the right.
He hugged Rouches, and the crowd began to disperse.
Rouches was one of the founding members of Tournament Golf Foundation, Inc., organized in 1972, which brought the Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament to Portland. After retiring as president of Portland Bottling Company, he helped develop membership at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in North Plains. He also served as general manager of Indian Creek for three years beginning in 1997, and since then has handled its marketing.
In addition to the hole dedication, the creek that flows from the fourth hole to the fifth has been renamed “Rouches’ Creek.”
“George has built a strong foundation for Indian Creek to grow,” said Tyson Jacobs, Indian Creek general manager, before unveiling the plaque and column. “There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe how kind and generous he is.”
“You can rub that stone for good luck when you play,” said George.
Linda gestured towards the cart.
“Why don’t you get in, George? We can go heckle your friends.”
Rouches climbed into the cart with his wife, and they cruised down the hill together in the bright afternoon sunlight.