Joe Ofalt Tribute
Joseph S. Ofalt (September 16, 1948 - June 28, 2011 )
Joe, or as his friends affectionately called him "Beam" was one of the original 8 founding members of the Annual Shenvalee Hacker’s Holiday of Leisurely Exercise (ASHHOLE). After a courageous battle with a very aggressive form of brain cancer, Joe quietly and painlessly passed away at home, in his sleep, at age 62. Joe attended 12 events before retiring from golf. He represented the true spirit of the annual fall classic. His contributions to this outing have been an ongoing source of inspiration and a guiding force in the evolution of our charter. He played a significant role in making this annual outing what it is today and what it will be in the years to come. Joe was an “occasional” golfer who, like all of us had his challenges with the game of golf. Regardless of how Joe played or how many pencils he went through to record his scores, he took immense pleasure in being in the great outdoors with his friends for a leisurely round of golf. Those of us, fortunate enough to have been in his foursome, know what it was to play this game with the Beam (The Ace of Clubs). Joe was a creative golfer and manipulated his game to compensate for some of the skills that he struggled to master.
It is fair to say that Joe sometimes had trouble coming off the tee. His Fairways Hit stats were, shall we say, slightly below average. In true form, Joe compensated for this by adopting a visual approach to the game. He prepared by clearing his mind of all negative thoughts. He blocked out images of every bad tee shot he had ever made in his entire life and on this pure white mental canvas he would paint a visualization of the perfect shot. At times after seeing the inspiration in his steely eyes, people would ask, "Beam, what is your plan for this next shot?" Beam’s elaborate description of the flight and path of the ball in most cases defied logic, science and the will of God... shot results varied. Many believe the idea to visualize the perfect shot was an original concept derived by Joe . Some say he picked it up from “Golf Digest.” No one ever challenged Joe on where the idea came from, and no one ever challenged the complete and absolute conviction he had in his ability to masterfully pull off any of the impressive shot visualizations he was able to conjure. . . results varied.
There were times when Joe ’s shots did not go exactly where he visualized, and the ball would sometimes end up in the woods. People would ask, "Beam how are you going to play this one?" Beam would turn to the person with a determined and calm look and state, "The trees are my friends." Then he would proceed to select a club (nothing less then a 3 iron regardless of distance), assume his golf stance, address the ball by tipping his hat and saying, "Hello Ball," take a few practice swings that were as graceful and smooth as any swing a young Bobby Jones had taken, then proceed to strike the ball with a club-head speed in excess of 245 mph and hold a follow-through pose that left him standing a minimum of four feet away from where he had begun his swing ... results varied. Joe was a real character with interesting and unique philosophies on the game of golf and life in general. Often times, people playing with Joe became witness to some golf shots that had not only never been seen before, but defied every law of physics known to mankind. When you played with Joe, he made sure you quickly recognized that there was life after a bad shot. If you hit a bad shot, Joe was always the first one in the foursome to offer a kind word or otherwise encourage you with his own brand of golf wisdom that was sometimes confusing but always entertaining. When Joe was in your foursome no matter what, he always went out of his way to make sure the game was always fun. Joe was a remarkable person in that he always had a positive influence on everyone he came into contact with in all aspects of his life.
A bit of history on the man …
Joe was born in Jersey City , NJ . He was a wonderful husband, a great father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and a wonderful friend to many. Joe graduated from St Anthony High School in Jersey City. He joined the US army and served his country honorably including a tour of active duty in Vietnam . All too often, Joe's “in-country” missions involved some of the most dangerous and deadly duty possible, including the clearing of rice paddies with search and destroy missions. After the army, Joe returned home and married his sweetheart Janice . He and Janice welcomed three beautiful children who have grown into fine young people. He began working for IBM in the early 70's and worked for the company for a little over 30 years. Joe held a number of staff and management positions during his distinguished career at IBM . In 1989, Joe accepted a promotion to a headquarters staff position that included a move to Mechanicsburg, PA. After Joe retired from IBM , he worked as a consultant for a company under contract by IBM . He finished up his professional working career as a well-liked and highly respected auditor with the Capital Area Transportation Authority in Harrisburg, PA.
Joe had many interests and passions. Besides spending time with his family, he enjoyed hunting and fishing, wood working, tackling both small and large home repairs for himself and friends, spending time at the trailer on "Beam Mountain" located in Susquehanna County, PA, and just chillin’ with a cold beer and some tunes in his garage. Joe was an extremely kind man, willing to give a helping hand to all who were in need. He was always capable of seeing the good in people where others could not. Joe believed in God, country and family. He loved to laugh, smile, make a joke, sing an oldie, and be with his family and friends. He was always there to lift your spirits whether your spirits needed lifting or not. He was smart, had a great memory, was a good listener, often created and shared his unique words of wisdom that were as humorous as they were meaningful and pointed. He had a positive influence on others and did his best to make the world a better place. He was a polished man of integrity with a deep conviction to a system of values more solid than hardened steal.
Joe "Beam" Ofalt was a true ASHHOLE and while he will be greatly missed he will NEVER be forgotten.
- (Benedict, Connelly & Wells)