The splendiferous spirit of the late Jeanne Fuller – matriarch of the Thomas Fuller Construction family – lived on at her eponymous Red Dress charity golf tournament held Monday at the Loch March Golf and Country Club in Kanata.
The 12th annual tournament grossed $135,000 to help the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre provide ongoing education for women on heart disease prevention and on making healthy decisions. The centre is at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI).
Fuller, 87, who passed away last December, was remembered at the event for being fashion savvy and philanthropic. Her way of enjoying life to the fullest was the inspiration behind this year’s motto: Live a Fuller life.
A sold-out crowd of 144 female golfers spent a relaxing day on the greens before returning to the clubhouse to cool off over cocktails, dinner and some silent and live auction bidding. Keeping the mood lively was an a cappella performance by a group of women from the Canadian Showtime Chorus.
Attendees included Dr. Thais Coutinho, chair of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre. Also present were Barbara Farber, president of real estate developer Leikin Group and chair of the UOHI Foundation board, and fellow foundation board member Krista Kealey, vice-president of communications for the Ottawa International Airport Authority.
The tournament was chaired this year by Natalie Tommy, vice-president of marketing and communications for Nautical Lands Group, an Ottawa-based company that builds residences across Ontario for seniors.
Nautical Lands Group and its Wellings of Stittsville project donated to the live auction the use of their plane and pilots for a day trip. The choice of destination included but was not limited to: Toronto, Chicago, New York City and New England. The item sold for $3,400.
Tommy is also a member of the famous Ottawa ski family (her late father, Art Tommy, was considered one of the best alpine ski racers of his generation). She and her husband, Kevin Pidgeon, owned Ottawa sports retailer Tommy & Lefebvre on Bank Street for almost 30 years before selling it to Sporting Life about five years ago.
“I decided that if I was going to get back into volunteering, I wanted to do something that I liked,” Tommy said of her decision to lead the tournament’s organizing committee. “There have been a lot of heart issues in my family. My dad, his brother, my grandfather – they all died really young of heart failure.”
Saying grace before dinner was Mark Fuller, owner of the Loch March and one of Jeanne Fuller’s four sons. He was part of a male minority group that also included Heart Institute Foundation president and CEO Jim Orban.
The dinner’s guest speaker was Heart Institute patient Olivia Hiddema, 22, who was born with multiple congenital heart defects. The young Ottawa hair stylist touched on her story and what she’s learned about women’s health through her contact with the Heart Institute. Also seen were long-time supporters Mary Browne and Marion Martell, who together co-chaired the tournament for eight years. The fundraiser passed the $1-million mark a couple of years ago.
Back to emcee the dinner was media personality Lianne Laing. She's started her own blog and a podcast since deciding to step away from CTV Ottawa Morning Live last year.