Art Abrahamson spent life on the links

  • Mon Jun 4th, 2012 9:21pm
  • Sports

By Rich Myhre Herald Writer

In his day, Art Abrahamson was as good as any young golfer to come out of Everett.

A 1953 graduate of Everett High School, Abrahamson played three varsity seasons for longtime Seagulls coach Bill Gowen. Abrahamson later golfed at the University of Oregon, and was a two-time winner of the Snohomish County Amateur and a two-time runner-up. He also held course records at Everett’s Legion Memorial Golf Course and Bellingham Golf and Country Club, and twice matched the course record at Everett Golf and Country Club.

Along the way Abrahamson spent two years at Everett Junior College and he excelled there, too. Playing for Harry Simmermacher, an Everett JC science teacher and the school’s golf coach, Abrahamson was twice the state medalist and both seasons led his team to the state title.

Fifty-seven years later, Abrahamson is one of seven individuals and three teams being inducted into the Hall of Fame at what is today Everett Community College. A banquet ceremony to honor the inductees is tonight, with former Washington State University and NFL quarterback Jack Thompson the keynote speaker.

For the 77-year-old Abrahamson, who still resides in north Everett — just a few blocks from the house where he lived as a boy — the honor is both surprising and thrilling.

“I’m very overwhelmed,” he said. “I was really shocked when they came around and interviewed me a couple of years ago, and then they called to tell me (about his induction) a couple of months ago. It’s a nice honor to be mentioned, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Abrahamson took up golf as a boy, in large part because his father was an avid player. They spent many days together on the golf course, though the younger Abrahamson still played when his dad could not. They lived just a few blocks from what was then known as Everett Municipal (today Legion Memorial), and he would walk or ride a bike to the golf course.

He was a junior in high school when he shot a 64 on the par-73 Everett Muni, a course record. Later he shot another 64 during the Washington State Amateur to break the course record at Bellingham G&CC. Twice Abrahamson shot a 63 at Everett G&CC during informal rounds, tying the mark set by Jack Westland, though longtime club pro Ken Tucker called Westland’s score the official record since it came in a tournament.

But as much as Abrahamson enjoyed setting records, he found a greater pleasure from just playing the game, much as he does today.

“I really enjoy golf,” he said. “And I played pretty decent from about 16 until I was in my middle 20s.”

In his 20s, and after a stint in the Air Force, Abrahamson had the chance to turn pro. But the paychecks for touring pros were modest compared to today, and he knew that being a club pro “just wasn’t my type of work.”

“I decided I’d just as soon be an amateur and play when I wanted to,” he said.

Abrahamson had a career with Snohomish County PUD, retiring as an electrical engineer and supervisor. He is a longtime member at Everett G&CC and still plays two or three times a week. Over the years he has nine holes-in-one.

“My back gets so bad that I can’t play two days in a row anymore,” he said. “I still try to play, but I haven’t hit a practice ball in 19 years. I just go play so I can save my back.

“But I still enjoy it and I’m still involved in it,” he said.

Joining Abrahamson in this year’s Everett CC class of inductees are track and field athlete Fred Andrew, a javelin thrower who won a conference title in 1965; basketball player and track and field athlete Al Clise, who competed in 1967-68; track and field athlete Larry Lian, who set school records and won conference championships in the 110-meter high hurdles and 400 intermediate hurdles in 1973; field hockey, basketball and tennis athlete Carol West, who competed in 1963-64 and 1964-65; and basketball and baseball player Bill Yeager, 1964-65 and 1965-66, who led the basketball team in scoring and rebounding in his second season and helped the baseball team win a state title the same year.

Tonight’s ceremony also will honor former tennis coach Dick Rowley (deceased), who won state titles in 1964 and 1969.

Also being inducted are the 1954 football team, the 1958-59 men’s basketball team, and the 1972-73 women’s basketball team.