Ewen, Former Executive Committee Member, Dies At 93

March 3, 2009

By David Shefter, USGA

Far Hills, N.J. - Gordon "Joe" Ewen, a former member of the USGA Executive Committee and the individual responsible for establishing the annual Joe Dey Award, died on Friday at his home in Winnetka, Ill. He was 93 years old.

It was 13 years ago that Ewen helped establish the Joe Dey Award, given annually to honor an individual's meritorious service to the game. While Ewen was never eligible to receive the prestigious award himself because of his terms on the Executive Committee, he exemplified the principle of charitable service by volunteering for and serving on the boards of several worthy causes.

In addition to serving on the Executive Committee from 1975-80, Ewen was a member of the Rules of Golf Committee, the Museum Committee and he chaired the Handicap Committee. In 2000, he received the Ike Grainger Award for 25 years of volunteer service to the USGA.

Outside of the USGA, Ewen was elected to the board of the Western Golf Association in 1969 and served as its president (1978-'79). In addition, he was a trustee of the Evans Scholars Foundation and chairman of the Foundation's fundraising "Par Club." During the early 1970s, he raised membership of the Par Club by nearly 50 percent through the use of personalized solicitation letters.

He also was president of Randall House, a home on the south side of Chicago for abused boys, which was one of the city's first interracial charities. And he also served as president of the Lawrence Hall School for Boys, now known as the Lawrence Hall Youth Services.

That dedication to public service has carried over to his children. His only daughter, Cece Durbin, is a member of the USGA Women's Committee. Last year, she chaired the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.

Born in Evanston, Ill., in 1915, Ewen's interest in the game came at the age of 6, when he began playing with his father. After his father's untimely passing in 1927, Ewen continued to play golf with his godfather, Charles G. Dawes. Dawes was a Brigadier General in World War I and was Vice President under President Calvin Coolidge. Dawes also won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1925 for his post-World War I reconstruction plan.

Ewen graduated from the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey in 1933 and Amherst (Mass.) College in 1937. Following college he was the editor of the Evanston Mail newspaper before heading up public relations for the Pure Oil Company while also writing for Commerce magazine .

He is survived by two sons, William L. Ewen of New Haven, Conn.; and Malcom D. Ewen of Chicago; along with daughter Cece Durbin of Winnetka. He also leaves behind five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on April 24 at the Winnetka Congregational Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Evans Scholars Foundation or to Amherst College.

For more about the Joe Dey Award, one of Joe Ewen's finest legacies, read this recent article about Dick Rundle, the 2009 award winner.


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