Obituary of Edward Willis Carman
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Over the gentle rolling hills that accompany the twisting Conhansey River in Fairton New Jersey, was a golf course named the Cohanzick Country Club. It would be there that a young boy would begin caddying for the prominent businessmen of Bridgeton. The day his father gave him his first set of golf clubs, a skeleton set, consisting of a 5 iron, 7 iron and 9 iron, in an old golf bag was one he would never forget and cherish as the most important gift he had ever received. The boy, becoming a young man, became very proficient at striking a golf ball, especially with those 5, 7 and 9 irons and would soon add to his set with a driver, 3 wood, 5 wood, 3 iron a couple of wedges and a putter. He would hit ball after ball on the practice field with every moment he had when not earning money by caddying. His game would become complete learning how to swing the club and figuring out for himself the science of hitting a golf ball. He became a “player,” quickly and one of the best players at Cohanzick before graduating high school. Once old enough to drive he earned a little income driving a truck for Seabrook Farms and would see some of his fellow employees smoking cigars and one day purchased his own Phillies Blunt and began to crave the taste of the cigar more than its aroma and smoke. The cigar would go on to be a staple of his daily routine and pleasure. It was shortly thereafter that the young man decided to follow his passion, he wanted to become a golf professional. He worked diligently at practice on the practice grounds at Cohanzick. He would take the buses or trains to the PGA Tournaments that would come to Philadelphia in the 1940’s and follow some of the games greats at the time paying special attention to Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, going back to Cohanzick and immolating and incorporating what he discovered watching them in person. At the age of 19 he became the youngest golf pro in the State of New Jersey at the Cohanzick Country Club and ran the business, taught lessons through the season, and prepared for the spring season in the winters. He earned his PGA Membership and made positive and lasting impressions on men, cultivating relationships with PGA Professionals Charlie Lepre, Bruce Coltart, Stan Dudas, and future PGA President Leo Fraser. He had aspirations of PGA Tour golf and competed successfully, winning local tournaments and made enough money to pay for the birth of his first son in 1953 by winning a Calcutta at the Linwood Country Club. As a well-known pro in the Philadelphia PGA and a fine player on the local tournament circuit he fought a wicked snap hook and inconsistent putting which made him wonder if he would be able to go head-to-head with the likes of Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. His focus turned to the business of golf that would include construction and design. In 1958 he was hired as the first Golf Professional at the Buena Vista Country Club by Club President Dr. Phillip Hover who was impressed with the 30-year-olds game, desire, and knowledge. The new head pro would show great intuition by incorporating the usage of golf carts, owning them himself and increasing the numbers of rounds played with increased club revenues. He invited the legendary Sam Snead to an exhibition at Buena Vista which also included long baller Bobby Thompson and the “Squire,” Golf's great ambassador, Gene Sarazan. By 1960, the successful pro had aspirations of building his own course and began purchasing land adjacent to the intersection at Centerton. During off hours from Buena he would clear trees and stumps himself and began fashioning a layout with the help of a couple of Centerton locals. By 1962 he decided to resign as Head Professional of Buena Vista C.C to complete his course, the Centerton Country Club which would open in May of 1964. The Centerton Country Club would become very popular with golfers because of its fine layout and by the end of the 1960’s would also be known for its fine dining, bar & grill, and famed Sunday buffet. The golf-pro began to expand his expertise into the restaurant business. He developed “The Wheel” which he used to serve hundreds of hot dishes within minutes and Centerton’s reputation for banquets and weddings was second to none. By the late 70’s he invented a yardage marker he named “The Marker” a golf ball designed top that was mow over resistant that allowed golfers to better gauge yardages for approach shots in the greens. The “marker,” would sell worldwide and gross a million in sales. By the beginning of 1992 he sold Centerton Country Club and began to recognize his next vision which would be designed over 200 wooded acres he purchased, running adjacent to Centerton Country Club. From 1997 through to its opening in 2000 the Running Deer Golf Club would be his creation. Running Deer would show his maturity and mastery of course design and in clubhouse construction. What started out as a great passion for golf would culminate with the creation on two golf courses, inventive engineering, all providing countless hours of enjoyment and camaraderie playing golf and dining for a multitude of people still being counted today and for many more days ahead. The young Fairton boy who became a man was the exemplar of hard work, determination, and persistence. A truly self-made man. When his mother was asked what word best described the boy who became a man she would continually and only answer, "ambitious.” This man would accomplish in his lifetime what may never be seen from again in golf by a single man with a single vision and a single drive. This man was Edward Willis Carman. Lovingly written by; John Robert Carman, son. Edward Willis Carman, 95, of Pittsgrove Twp. passed away on Saturday, February 11, 2023, under the care of his family and hospice. Born in Bridgeton to the late Allen S. Carman and Isabel Willis Carman, he was the husband of Paula Carman for the past 42 years. He is survived by; his wife, Paula Carman; his children; John Robert Carman (Barbara), Theodore Ayers Carman and Karen D. Killeen (Kevin); his younger brother, Franklin Carman; and his grandchildren; Christian Carman, Noah Carman, Amelia Carman, Ayden Edward Carman, Ava LaRee Carman, Cole Striker Killeen, and Jenna Paige Killeen. He was preceded in death by; his parents, Allen S., and Isabel Carman; his first wife, Dolores Thompson Carman; his son Merle Thompson Carman; Rachelle Carman, the loving wife of Theodore; his older brother, Alan Carman and his wife Gwen; and Barbara Carman, the loving wife of his younger brother Frankiln. Per Ed’s wishes, services will be held privately. In lieu of flowers donations in Ed’s honor can be made to Wounded Warriors Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate Written condolences can be sent to the family through the funeral home website at www.padgettfuneralhomes.com
A Memorial Tree was planted for Edward
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Padgett Funeral Home
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