Joe Dumphy was an old soul in a young man’s body.
That’s how Joe Eberhard described the 15-year-old North Forsyth High School golfer, whose life was cut short in July 2015 after being in a car accident two years ago this June.
“He was an unbelievable young man; we met when he was probably 13,” Eberhard said. “He had a yearning to learn and he loved the game of golf. He would come out on the driving range and hit balls and just pick up a game with anyone — he didn’t have to know them. He just wanted to play the game because he loved it so much.
“He was always inquisitive about the game, asking what club you would use for what drive, and he was probably the most polite and respectful young man I’ve ever met at that age. Joe was just a delight to be around.”
Four local students, three of whom are from Forsyth County, were recently named Joe Dumphy Memorial Golf Scholarship recipients, the top two winners hailing from Lambert and North Forsyth high schools, respectively.
Alison Crenshaw, from Lambert, was awarded first place and will receive $5,000. North Forsyth’s Daniel Mathis will receive $2,000, Dawson High School student Tatum Pruitt will receive $750 and John Lichtenwalner, from South Forsyth High School, will get $500.
Eberhard, co-treasurer of the 19-member scholarship board, said the winners, who were chosen out of a 12-person applicant pool, most embody Dumphy’s spirit — the ultimate deciding factor in who was chosen.
“We had 12 extremely qualified candidates who were academically accomplished, and 10 of those 12 did have a golf interest and a commitment to the game,” Eberhard said. “But the candidates that possessed [Joe’s] traits and expressed them outwardly were [ultimately] how we whittled it down to four [recipients].
“During her interview, Alison was so very poised, engaging, well-spoken and professed she was shy, but we didn’t see that. She demonstrated a certain pride if she were to win this scholarship, even though she didn’t know Joe. Daniel was similar but he knew Joe and had played golf with him, and the fact that he knew Joe was extremely meaningful to him.”
This is the second year the Dumphy family has offered the scholarship, said Joe’s father, Charley Dumphy.
“It’s to keep our son’s memory alive and the sport that he loved and a way to give back, because that’s the way he would want it,” he said.
Eberhard said in addition to looking at applicants’ scholastic aptitude, the scholarship is somewhat faith-based.
A required essay included a prompt for applicants to describe a situation in which they had to stand up for their beliefs.
“I didn’t know this at the time, but Joe was very dedicated to his church, religion and belief in God,” Eberhard said. “That’s what parents said he drew on, so we felt some sense of a faith-based lifestyle would be appropriate for the scholarship.”
Scholarships funds are raised at the Dumphy’s annual golf tournament, which is now in its third year. This year’s will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Chestatee Golf Club.
“The Chestatee community and golf club is extremely close-knit and everyone here knew Joe, admired Joe and recognized that he was a special person,” Eberhard said. “The [accident] touched the community like I’ve never seen, and it’s all because of Joe.
“This scholarship is one of note and one of respect, and we’re very proud of that aspect as well, and kids are starting to realize that already.”