A multi-generational crowd of more than 200 people celebrated the life and times of Tommy Glover Jr. last Saturday at his historic Guerneville Pee Wee golf course.
“There are a lot of faces here I haven’t seen in years,” said Frank Anderson, the retired principal at Forestville’s El Molino High School where Tom Glover Jr. will be remembered as a stand-out athlete who loved baseball and football.
Many at Saturday’s celebration shared memories of the Glover family’s contributions at El Molino since it opened in 1964 when Tom Glover Sr. was on the original faculty. Both of his sons, Brian and Tom Jr., were dedicated athletes, growing up as kids in Forestville, recalled former El Molino High School teacher and coach Larry Lefor.
“The Glover brothers never had any teddy bears,” said Lefor. “They slept with baseballs and footballs.”
Thomas Glover Jr. passed away Oct. 27 at age 53. For almost 20 years he was owner of the Pee Wee Golf and Arcade on Drake Road where the Guerneville amusement park’s plaster dinosaur has greeted visitors to town since the late 1940s.
He acquired the business in 2001, restoring the site and elevating the main building above the floodplain. In appreciation of his restoration work the Russian River Chamber of Commerce in 2004 awarded him its annual Guerneville Beautification Award.
The golf course is historically one of the first places in Guerneville to go underwater during Russian River flooding, when rising waters surround Dino, the purple dinosaur who’s a favorite flood photo opportunity for visiting news media. Thanks to frequent flooding, Glover once told a reporter, the purple Pee Wee dinosaur “has been broadcast all over the world.”
At Saturday’s memorial, Tom Glover Sr. thanked the overflow crowd that filled the golf course and arcade and gathered outside along Drake Road where longtime Guerneville resident Darrell Bushgen and his crew served up barbecue. A table of desserts included plenty of home baked brownies, cookies and plates of pies courtesy of Forestville’s Kozlowski family, Carmen, Carol, Amber and Perry.
“Sandy [Tom Glover Sr.’s wife] and I would like to thank everyone for coming,” said Glover. “Tommy’s friends and our neighbors really stepped up. I know he appreciated this.”
On Saturday, Brian Glover wore a Raiders football shirt, an acknowledgement of his brother’s favorite team.
“I’m wearing a Raiders shirt — you don’t know how painful this is,” said Brian, remembering his brother as a free spirit and risk taker who lived life to the fullest. “To honor my brother I urge all of you to go do something you shouldn’t…Be like him, have some fun.”