The “Father of the FBR Open” golf tournament Bob Goldwater Sr. died of natural causes in his Scottsdale home Saturday morning. He was 96.
With his wife, Maggie, at his side, overlooking the Phoenix Country Club golf course, Goldwater died at 10:05 a.m. Though he died of natural causes, his son, Don, said his health had been deteriorating after he suffered a recent heart attack in Show Low.
“He passed the way he lived — full of life,” said Don Goldwater, who recently lost in the Republican gubernatorial primary to Len Munsil. “He was a great father with a phenomenal sense of humor.”
Born July 4, 1910, Goldwater was a graduate of Phoenix Union High School and Stanford University. He was an Arizona wing commander for the Civil Air Patrol during World War II, and later helped start Arizona Airlines. He was the brother of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater.
Bob Goldwater was best known for his lead role in resurrecting the Phoenix Open, now called the FBR Open, in 1939. He served as the tournament’s chairman from 1934 to 1951. He was an avid golfer who won several tournaments.
The FBR Open has helped raise more than $43 million for Arizona charities since its inception.
“None of it would be possible if not for his vision and incredible work ethic,” said Mike Haenel, president of the Thunderbird, which oversees the open. “We’ve lost a legend, a friend, a mentor and a great guy.”
He is survived by four children and eight grandchildren. Public funeral services will be 11 a.m. Nov. 13 at Trinity Cathedral, First Avenue and Roosevelt Street, Phoenix. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the following in Bob Goldwater’s name: Hospice of the Valley at (602) 530-6992; Trans-Mississippi Golf Association and Turf Scholarship Fund, (785) 842-0155; or Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, (602) 954-8182.