Family of Ryan Gordon celebrate decade long golf tournament in his honor

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(ABC 6 News) – It’s been 13 years since Ryan Gordon died of stomach cancer back in 2011.

Two years following his death, his family began a golf tournament in his honor and as a fundraiser for cancer research at The Hormel Institute.

“The pain of losing Ryan at such a young age is still very real and fresh and we miss him terribly,” said Shirley Gordon, Ryan’s mother.

The tournament is one of many ways his friends and family are keeping his memory alive through the game he loved most.

Gordon was a golf enthusiast his entire life and the memory of the game has always been apart of the family, according to his younger brother, Chad.

“I don’t even remember when we started, I just remember the golf clubs in our hands. If you want to know how much Ryan loved golf, he always had his golf bag in his living room. So his wife would always ask him, ‘what’s that there for?’ in the middle of winter, and he’d respond, ‘I just want to look at it,'” Chad explained. “Golf was always on his mind, always in his heart. Just like his family. It was golf and family.”

The tournament has also become a family tradition for the Gordon’s and even life-long friends that grew up with Gordon in Adams.

“I started off just doing the registration table and getting all the teams signed up and ready to go,” said Gabby Wagner, Gordon’s cousin. “I told myself if we continue to do this that I wanted to be apart of the golfing. So, I started golfing two years ago during COVID and have golfed the last three years in the tournament. It’s just awesome to see all the family getting back out together to honor Ryan and something he loved to do.”

Jeff Osmundson grew up with Gordon in Adams, but now lives in Woodbury, Minnesota. The tournament now serves as a reunion with old friends and his sons.

“It’s great, you know, you’re doing it for a good cause, the people. I get to spend time with my kids,” said Osmundson.

The first year the Gordon family started the fundraiser, they only raised around $2,500.

The last two years, however, over $14,000 was raised annually. Now since its creation, the Gordon family has raised $93,000 for the Hormel Institute.

“There just has to be a cure and better treatments in our future and we hope our small efforts will help make a difference,” said Shirley Gordon.

Chad Gordon believes if his brother were here now to see what they’ve done in his honor, he’d be delighted beyond belief.

“My brother was always smiling. And he’s a big hug giver. He’d be giving everyone here a hug. I mean, he was just that kind of guy, he’d be beaming. I know that’s cliché to say, but he’d be beaming, that’s what he’d be doing. He’d be so proud of what everyone here does,” said Chad Gordon.

In total Saturday, the Gordon family raised $16,9000 at this years tournament. Organizers say that they anticipate more donations will come in over the next few days.