Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic tees off at The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing |

Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic tees off at The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing

Courtesy of Jonathan BoncekGeorge Atkinson was one of several former NFL players to tee off in the Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic at The Golf Club at Gray's Crossing this past Saturday. The event raised about $100,000 to benefit Tahoe Forest Health System and its effort to research pancreatic cancer.

TRUCKEE and#8212; This past Saturday The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing hosted the inaugural Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic benefitting Tahoe Forest Health System and providing a new source of funding for pancreatic cancer research. Preliminary net proceeds from the charity tournament are estimated at about $100,000.

Each year the public will be invited to this charity event in honor of Gene Upshaw, who died of pancreatic cancer Aug. 21, 2008 at Truckee’s Tahoe Forest Hospital at the age of 63.

and#8220;Golf was a natural fit to honor Gene, as he enjoyed the game so much,and#8221; said Terri Upshaw, Gene’s wife. and#8220;The location was also an easy choice, as he was always happy and at peace in Tahoe. The care we received from the staff at Tahoe Forest Hospital made it even more clear that this was where this event should take place.and#8221;

Gene Upshaw was a founding member of The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing.

The shamble-format pairing for this event paired an NFL player with a four-person team. Participation in the event also included a player’s reception-pairing party on Friday at Wild Goose restaurant on the shore of Lake Tahoe. Guests also enjoyed a boat ride on the Wild Goose II, a historic wooden boat.

and#8220;It is truly special for Tahoe Forest Hospital to be involved with making this inaugural golf tournament a rewarding experience for the Upshaw family,and#8221; said Martha Simon, chief development officer with Tahoe Forest Health System. and#8220;In the short time that we’ve known Terri and her family, we are committed to keeping Gene’s spirit alive through philanthropic efforts.and#8221;

After a successful 16-year career as a player, Gene Upshaw served as the executive director of the National Football League Players Association from June 1983 to August 2008. During that time, Upshaw worked diligently at enhancing, protecting and defending the individual rights of professional football players throughout the National Football League. Upshaw also served as Chairman of National Football League Players Incorporated.

A perennial All-Pro offensive guard for the Raiders, Upshaw was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, his first year of eligibility. He played in 217 league games and appeared in six Pro Bowls. He was named Lineman of the Year in the AFC in 1973 and 1974. In 1977, he was voted top lineman in the NFL, and runner-up for that honor in 1980. Upshaw is the only player in NFL history to play in three Super Bowls in three different decades and#8212; the 60s, 70s and 80s.

and#8220;This tournament is a legacy to Gene and his family. It is my hope that we can remember him not only for his leadership of the NFLPA, but also to the contributions he made to the community,and#8221; said DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association. and#8220;As a person who has also watched a family member battle cancer, I know that there is an incredible strength and passion to fight. We all will continue his fight by supporting research for a cure.and#8221;

Said Tom Flores, starting quarterback for the Raiders from 1960-66 and coach from 1979-87:

and#8220;Gene had the ability to leave a strong footprint wherever he went. It was obvious from being at (Saturday’s) event that the NFL players along with the Truckee locals truly admire Gene and Terri. With not much time to bring the NFLPA together with local organizations, the tournament went really well.and#8221;

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