MOUNT VERNON — One hundred forty-four golfers and many other family and friends celebrated the life of Mike Crouch the best way they knew how — with food, fellowship, a few jokes and, of course, golf.
Mike, part of the Crouch family that owns and operates Hiawatha Golf Course, passed away in October at the age of 66. Instead of a traditional service and burial, Mike was remembered by all his family and friends Saturday at the spot he spent most of his life — Hiawatha Golf Course.
“Mike would have loved to be here today — playing golf and telling funny stories,” his nephew Matt read from a eulogy written by Mike’s wife, Ellen. “It’s a testimony to how good a person he was and how much we miss him. We’re here to celebrate what Mike loved the most — golf, but mostly being here with friends.”
Several friends spoke of Mike and his love of everything and everyone during the ceremony, which followed the first annual Mike Crouch Memorial Golf Tournament. Stories of golf trips and tournaments, eating and how much fun Mike was during all those things kept the nearly more than 200 people laughing, smiling and even shedding a tear or two.
“I met Mike when Rachel (his daughter) was playing softball,” said Tom Ruffner. “Mike and Tim (his brother) talked me into coming out and playing some golf. He made me feel so comfortable, like I was the best player in the world. … I played golf with him for 22 years and never had an argument. He was the best man that I ever met in my life.”