Passion to Perpetuity
How Kent Workman’s Love for Golf Will Enable Youth to Set Foot on the Course
“You can make a difference in someone’s life, if you can make a connection,” was a common phrase said by Kent Workman. It was a phrase Kent not only mentioned, but lived. In speaking about her son, Peggy said, “Kent had many talents in his lifetime, but he was truly ‘gifted’ in being able to make a connection and thereby make a difference, whether it was with his students, family, friends, or acquaintances.” Today, even after a car accident in 2019 that took his life, Kent continues to touch the lives of others through two endowments at the Community Foundation of Wabash County.
In his will, Kent wanted to honor his mother Peggy by creating the Peggy D. Workman Endowment, to provide support in perpetuity to the First Brethren Church in North Manchester and further the church’s mission and youth programming. Kent also wanted to encourage youth participation in the sport of golf and provide support for men’s health, related to prostate cancer, through the creation of a trust. Kent’s siblings quickly realized the challenges of managing a trust and approached the Community Foundation seeking a way to meet Kent’s wishes without the cost and administration of a trust. The answer was the creation of a field-of-interest endowment fund.
Kent Workman was born and raised with his three siblings in Wabash County and graduated from Manchester College with a degree in education. Following graduation, he became a math teacher for Maconaquah High School for 33 years until his retirement in 2017. Kent invested his time in youth, and he served a number of years as the Maconaquah JV basketball coach. He also spent hours on the golf course, teaching youth how to play and instilling in them a love for the game. Kent cared for each of his students and athletes, and they remember him for his sense of humor.
Outside of school, Kent was actively involved in the Peru and North Manchester communities. He even convinced the Peru Park Board to host an annual Easter Egg Hunt, for which he served as chair. Kent’s mother Peggy remembers her son gathering prizes donated by local businesses and community members for the event. She specifically recalls, “One summer, when K-Mart in Peru was going out of business, he told me we needed to stop at K-Mart on our way to dinner so that he could purchase a couple of the bicycles on sale for the Easter Egg Hunt, which was still months away!”
Kent is remembered for his dedication and commitment to his family, his students, and the community, but one of his greatest passions was playing golf and making the sport accessible to others. For Kent, golf served as a way to connect and build relationships with others, relieve stress, teach youth, and raise money for the causes most dear to him. Golfing also allowed Kent to spend time with his beloved Schnauzer, Caddie. Kathy Singpiel, Kent’s sister said, “We grew up raising Schnauzers. So when Kent decided that he needed a companion dog, he chose a Schnauzer, and named her Caddie, planning to take her along when he went golfing! He taught her how to "spot" his golf balls, after he hit them, by adding a cinnamon scent to them. Once she found the golf ball, she would ‘sit’ beside it until he came, then he gave her a treat. She loved riding with him in the golf cart. A lot of the time, she would run alongside the cart, as though she was pulling it!”
Kent’s brother Kyle recalls the first time they learned how to play golf. “Kent and I always enjoyed many of the same sports. As kids and young adults it was all about basketball and we played non-stop. In the Spring of 1982, Kent and I were both students at Manchester College and decided to take a golf class together. The sport stuck but we were still both playing a lot of basketball and were very busy with classes. Golf was an expensive sport, and we were poor college students at the time. Later, when we both had full-time jobs, we became fully engrossed in the game of golf…or at least Kent did. As a school teacher, Kent began spending his entire summers on the golf course. Soon, summer wasn’t enough, and he began golfing year round, using orange balls to golf in the snow. It is fitting that Kent’s wish was to start a golf endowment to help young people learn and enjoy the game. Golf helped him through many stressful times; It was his outlet, and he truly loved the game.”
In May of 1996, the Workman siblings lost their father after a battle with prostate cancer. To cope with his grief, Kent used golf as his outlet. However, Kent felt compelled to share his father’s story and raise awareness about prostate cancer. So, he decided to increase awareness and raise money for the American Cancer Society by setting a record in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most holes played in a week with a cart. The record was a total of 1,363 holes. To encourage and support Kent, his family helped fundraise and share the message, and they followed him around the course in golf carts all week. Kent was successful at his world record attempt - playing a total of 1,560 holes, which equates to more than 12 rounds of golf per day! Although the world record was short-lived, the Workman family will forever treasure the memory and accomplishment.
Today, youth ages 6-18, in Miami and Wabash Counties will benefit from the opportunities provided by the Kent A. Workman Memorial Endowment. Grants from the endowment will assist with the costs of summer golf camps, golf scrambles, and school golf team expenses including new equipment, travel, tournament fees, and scholarships. To apply for a grant from the endowment, a school principal, athletic director, or coach must fill out and submit the application. Requests for applications can be sent to Julie Garber, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The creation of the endowment was the perfect combination to combine Kent’s love for golf with his desire to give back,” says Kent’s sister-in-law Teri Workman. “One day, shortly after Kent’s death, a man approached me asking if I was related to Kent. He told me a story about Kent showing up at his door because he knew the man’s son loved to play golf and he wanted to financially help him keep playing. The man was grateful and understandably surprised. It was wonderful to hear the story but I wasn’t surprised with Kent’s actions…it was just the sort of thing he would do.”