When Washington Golf and Country Club pro Claire Emery, 55, died Thursday, he was involved in an activity for which he will be long remembered by much of Washington's golf community.
Mr. Emery was stricken with a heart attack just before teeing off on the first hole of the Charles Town Golf Classic, a charity tournament in West Virginia. The 26-year veteran at Washington was rushed to Jefferson Memorial Hospital, where he suffered a second, fatal attack.
"He would play anywhere he was needed," said Leesburg Golf and Country Club pro Bill Pearl, who was Emery's assistant at Washington from 1966-74.
"He was a fine individual. His moral conduct was outstanding. He loved the game -- he'd been playing it since he was 10. His popularity among the pros in this area, his integrity, was unchallenged. This will be a great loss to Washington Golf and Country and the Washington area."
Mr. emery was born in Salt Lake City, where his father became greens superintendent for the city courses. In 1951, Mr. Emery moved to Washington to become assistant to George Fazio at Woodmont Country Club and a year later became teaching assistant to Wiffy Cox at Congressional. In 1954, he became the pro at Washington in Arlington.
The winner of virtually every area title, Mr. Emery won the Middle Atlantic PGA seniors' title from 1975-79 and was the over-55 age group titlist this year. The MAPGA sectional player of the year in 1960 and 1967, he won the last District Open in 1960, took the MAPGA title in 1961 and was medalist in local qualifying for the national PGA tournament in 1958.
He played in five PGA Championships and two U.S. Opens. Mr. Embery was named sectional golf pro of the year in 1977.
He is survived by his wife, Julie, two sons, Robert and Lawrence, two daughters, Karen Emery and Rebecca Owens, and his brother, Ralph, pro at the Park City, Utah, golf course.