Tee Off on a Great Cause

Jonathan Meincke on the Wildwood Country Club course.

There’s a golf tournament coming up in Blythewood next Friday that celebrates the legacy, passions and patriotism of a pretty special guy. It’s the fourth annual Jonathon E. Meincke Memorial Golf Tournament at Crickentree Golf Club.

“Dr. Jon,” a well-known and well-loved veterinarian and entrepreneur, passed away in 2010. His story begins in New Jersey where, an avid golfer, Meincke wanted to move to a climate where he could play golf year-round. His daughter Jean Meincke Rutkowski remembers that the family left for South Carolina in the early 1970s.

The move was not met with universal approval by the family, however. They had just gotten an in-ground swimming pool in their New Jersey back yard, so daughters Jean, Dinah and Alison weren’t happy until their father promised to get a pool at their new home. But when the family arrived in Irmo, Meincke couldn’t find the pool equipment he had been so happy with in New Jersey. So he became a distributor for the equipment brand he left behind and started his own pool company, Crystal Pools, which is now run by daughter Alison Meincke Felschow.

Meincke also opened the Coldstream Animal Hospital in Irmo. But his passion for the game eventually brought Meincke and his wife Elaine, by then empty nesters, to Blythewood in the late 1980s. Meincke had always wanted to live on a golf course. When he learned the Crickentree neighborhood was being laid out around a golf course, Meincke staked his claim to the lot on the 15th tee. A couple of years later he opened Companion Animal Hospital in Dr. Roger Gaddy’s former office on Blythewood Road. Today, Rutkowski manages the practice. Third daughter Dinah Meincke Garvin lives in Charleston.

Besides golf, Meincke’s other passion was helping out military veterans of all sorts. A childhood deformity kept Meincke out of military service, so he always wanted to do his part by honoring and supporting those who could serve, Rutkowski said.

“After he passed away, we decided to honor him with both his passions – by raising money from a golf tournament in his name to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project,” Rutkowski said. The Project raises awareness and enlists the public’s aid in providing for the needs of severely injured service men and women and their families.

To that end, the fourth JEM Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, Oct. 25, at Crickentree Golf Club in Blythewood. The tournament will be Captain’s Choice, Best Ball. Tee off is at 1 p.m.

Several different prizes will be awarded during the tournament, such as getaways, fuel tickets and chances on door prizes. One of the door prizes is an American flag that was flown over the battlefield in Afghanistan in an American fighter plane.

Tickets are $60 per player, or $240 for a team of four and includes cocktails and a barbecue lunch, a golf towel and two complimentary chances at the door prizes.

For more details or to sign up for the tournament, contact Rutkowski at Companion Animal Hospital in Blythewood, 803-786-2412.

“My dad played in these types of tournaments all the time. It’s something he loved to do for our wounded heroes,” Rutkowski said.

For those interested in playing golf for a good cause, tee up next Friday to honor this man, his commitment to his country and community and his legacy.

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