-  Gresham's Technical Fabricators honors founder Howard Rist with 27th annual golf tournament for charity

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - The Howard Rist Memorial Golf Tournament has donated more than $85,000 over the past 26 years for charities including Mt. Hood Hospice and Make-A-Wish Oregon. The family-run event includes three of Rists' five children, (from left) Randy, Rick and Rodger, as well as his wife, Darlene, and granddaughter, Katie Loeb (far right).

It’s doubtful Howard Rist is sitting wherever one sits in the afterlife, tee’d off at how his family memorializes him.

“My father was an avid golfer as well as being a charitable, loyal, caring family man,” said Rodger Rist. “It was a no-brainer that we create something good from his passing.”

For the past 26 years, duffers have gathered at Gresham Golf Course to hit a few balls for Howard and raise money for charity. The 27th annual Howard Rist Memorial Tournament returns Friday, June 27, with participants looking to hit another hole in one for Make-A-Wish Oregon.

Rist was a longtime East County and Gresham resident and businessman. A sheet metal worker by trade, Rist and partner Bill Green founded Technical Fabricators in February 1973, in a warehouse on Northeast Cleveland Avenue. The company’s focus was on the manufacture of electrical front panels and electronic chassis for medical equipment. Rist bought out Green’s interest in the business several years later, diversifying its scope and branching out into other directions. Today, Technical Fabricators is a precision sheet metal manufacturer, whose decorative architectural components grace handrails, sculptures and structures in businesses and homes from Wall Street to Beverly Hills.

In January 1987, after a lengthy illness, Howard lost his battle with cancer, leaving the business to his wife, Darlene and three of his sons, Randy, Rick and Rodger. Six months later, Rodger and then shop foreman Gene Reginball gathered some folks who knew Howard for a round of golf in his honor. by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Technical Fabricators, the Gresham company founded by Howard Rist in 1973, sponsors the annual event. Following Rists' death in 1987, the business was passed on to his wife, Darlene (center front) and sons, (left to right) Rick, Randy and Rodger. Darlene, now 78, still answers the front desk phones at the company.

“That first year we had around 70 golfers,” Rodger said. “They were all my dad’s golfing buddies and some business associates. On the spur of the moment, we asked for donations so we could make a contribution to (Oregon Health & Science University), because that’s where my dad was treated and died.”

The group raised $2,000 in cash, which was given to a cancer research fund at OHSU in Howard’s name.

The success of that first informal tournament led Rodger and Reginball to commit to Technical Fabricators’ sponsorship of an annual golf tournament for 20 years. They added a putting contest, door prizes and a silent auction, and secured sponsors for individual holes to boost their fundraising opportunities.

Over the years, the tournament quietly supported causes that would have been near and dear to its namesake’s heart. Between 1988 and 2009, the Howard Rist Memorial Golf Tournament raised more than $80,000 for Mt. Hood Hospice and for two years supported individual families in the throes of medical crises.

“Those were people we knew who were struggling financially,” Rodger said. “We donated the money to one family one year and another family the second year. It was mostly for bills and things.”

In 2012, Rodger’s daughter Katie Loeb took charge of the running the tournament and chose Make-A-Wish Oregon as the beneficiary.

“They’re centered around hope,” Katie said. “They have such a positive outlook. I’m that way, and their whole message really spoke to me. I like how they looked at things and their whole goal.”

The tournament raised $3,000 for Make-A-Wish last year and is hoping for $6,000 this year, Katie said.

Like the business, the golf tournament is a family-run affair. All five of Howard’s offspring, their spouses and children volunteer at the event, doing everything from checking in golfers to monitoring the highly competitive putting competition.

“That’s really popular, almost cut-throat,” Katie said. “It’s a buy-in with a 50/50 split for the prize pot. You can do it as many times as you want and there are people who will keep playing until they drop a putt to move on to the next round. That pot can get pretty big.”

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Gresham Golf Course has hosted as many as 180 duffers for the tournament, which includes a putting contest, raffle and silent auction. Entry fees include lunch, 18 holes of golf and cart rental, door prizes and commemorative T-shirt. Between 1988 and 2009, golfers raised more than $80,000 for Mt. Hood Hospice. More than 100 golfers took part in the tournament last year, Katie said, and there’s still time to register a team, sponsor a hole or donate items to this year’s event. For duffers looking for an excuse to spend a day on the links, the Howard Rist Memorial Golf Tournament sits on top of the leader board for a good cause.

“We may be little in size, but we are big at heart,” Katie said. “Much like the children whom we are raising the money for. We are hoping to make this year our best year yet by setting the highest fundraising goal we ever have.”

More info

The 27th annual Howard Rist Memorial Golf Tournament, sponsored by Technical Fabricators, gets under way with an 8 a.m. shotgun start Friday, June 27, at Gresham Golf Course, 2155 N.E. Division St. Entry fee is $85 per person and includes green fees, cart rental, tournament T-shirt, food and beverage and door prize entry. Golfers can participate in a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and putting contest, with proceeds benefitting Make-A-Wish Oregon.

To register a team, join a team or donate, contact Katie Loeb at 503-957-2982 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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