Richard E. Valentine, golf course superintendent

Posted: May 30, 2007

Richard E. Valentine, 78, of Bryn Mawr, superintendent of Merion Golf Club in Ardmore for 27 years, died of a heart attack Friday at home.

Mr. Valentine grew up helping to groom the greens at Merion. His father, Joseph, was superintendent there for 45 years and turned the job over to his son in 1963.

The renowned course has hosted many U.S. Golf Association championships. In 1971, when he was preparing for the prestigious U.S. Open, Mr. Valentine told a reporter: "This is where the satisfaction, the compensation comes in, watching the course stand up to championship play."

After retiring in 1990, he consulted for golf clubs and for the Joseph Valentine Turfgrass Research Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Mr. Valentine graduated from Lower Merion High School. In 1960, he married Patricia Magee. She died in 1981, when their three sons were teenagers.

He kept close ties with his extended family, his niece Christine Valentine-Owsik said. "He had a sense of humor," she said, "that could soften the most prickly personality, whether it was a golfer, family member or stranger." He was a devout Catholic, she said, and attended daily Mass. His favorite pastime was deep-sea fishing.

Mr. Valentine is survived by sons Richard, Thomas and John; a brother; a sister; and four grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, 31 Pennswood Rd., Bryn Mawr. Friends my call from 7 to 9 p.m. today at McConaghy Funeral Home, 328 W. Lancaster Ave. Ardmore.

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