Time out with T.O. - Paying it forward

by Tom O'Connor, UNMC public relations | October 11, 2018

Image with caption: All in the family -- Mark

All in the family -- Mark "Farkle" Lordemann's brother, Phil Lordemann, and his sister, Ann Hawkins (far right) are seen here with Hawkins' three granddaughters (left-right) Abby, Lily and Marly Mills. The three girls have helped every year with such things as putting the player gift bags together prior to the tournament.

As golf tournaments go, it's in a class by itself.

Actually, it's much more than a golf tournament -- it's a celebration of life.

It's a family paying tribute to a fallen hero by giving back to others in need.

Make a donation

If you wish to make a donation to the Nebraska Medicine FARKLE Patient Assistance Fund, it's easy. Go to the University of Nebraska Foundation website.

If you want to volunteer for the FARKLE Fun Fest or want more information on the tournament, you should email the fund.

It is a slice of Americana -- and Nebraska -- at its very best.

Called the FARKLE Fun Fest, the tournament has been held the past 11 years on the third Saturday of July.

The tournament honors Mark Lordemann, whose nickname was "Farkle." It comes from "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in," an edgy comedy that ran from 1968-1973 and included a weekly skit featuring the Farkel family (different spelling).

Lordemann was one of 14 children from a family in Petersburg, Neb. He had a daughter and two grandchildren.

picture disc.
Mark "Farkle" Lordemann
Lordemann died in 2007 at the age of 59. A Vietnam veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient, he spent the last six weeks of his life at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine battling leukemia.

He was beloved by his family. With his ZZ Top-lengthed beard, Farkle would dress up like Santa Claus and put a sleigh and reindeer on top of a four-wheeler.

Farkle loved spending time with his huge family and network of friends. His favorite saying was, "There's always time for one more."

When Farkle died, the family set up a memorial fund in his honor at Nebraska Medicine. The FARKLE name says it all -- Friends and Relatives Keeping Life Enjoyable. They decided to hold a golf tournament -- even though almost nobody in the family was a golfer.

"We're blessed," said Teresa Brown, one of Farkle's eight sisters. "We know other families (at Nebraska Medicine) have much more to worry about. We wanted to pay it forward."

And pay it forward, they did. The family has raised more than $300,000 through the summer golf tourney as well as a poker fundraiser during the winter.

One special guy

In the tournament flyer, Mark Lordemann (aka Farkle), is described as "a man of integrity, trust, and friendship . . . a father, son, grandpa, brother, uncle, a friend to many.

"Farkle never closed his door to a person in need. He was always willing to help and lend a hand. He would give the last dollar in his pocket if it would make another life's better."

Proceeds go to help families with a loved one being treated at Nebraska Medicine. They provide gift cards to cover the essentials, such as meals, housing, deodorant and underwear.

In the past three months, 84 families have benefited from the FARKLE Memorial Fund. Over the years that translates into thousands of families who have been helped.

The tournament is a sellout every year with 144 golfers. "It filled within 40 minutes after we opened registration," said Rita Peters, another of Farkle's sisters. "We didn't need a wall, a bench or a tree. We want the money to help people, to help kids."

Farkle would be proud. The tournament's theme -- "There's always time to help one more."

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