The warm, rain-free weather Friday morning and afternoon was a gift from Shelly Spahnie.
At least that's what some of her friends and colleagues at American Greetings Interactive said Friday at Bob-O-Link Golf Course as they participated in the Koala Open, a benefit golf tournament they hold for the two sons of Spahnie, who died in April of 2007.
"Every year since we began the tournament (in 2008), we have amazing weather for it,"said. Sally Schriner, president of American Greetings Interactive.
"She's watching over us," chimed in Jeanne Moser, Schriner's assistant who was in charge of coordinating volunteers for the event.
Spahnie had been director of finance for American Greetings Interactive, which runs websites such as e-greetings, Blue Mountain, Webshots, Cardstore and Kiwee. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in December of 2006. She died four months later.
Friends and colleagues described Spahnie as a warm woman who took newcomers under her wing, someone who never passed another person in the hall without a smile and a hello.
"If you were playing on the eighth hole and she was on the first, you'd hear her laugh," said co-worker Deb Timko.
"She was a big force in a small division," Moser said. "I learned so much from her. She was a good manager, so positive and supportive."
In the previous three Koala Opens, about $30,000 has been raised for the education funds for Spahnie's two sons, Brian and Morgan.
The tournament is named the Koala Open because Spahnie loved koala bears. She had several stuffed koala bears on display in her office. When Timko went to visit Spahnie at home during her illness, there were dozens more on shelves in her bedroom. One of her dreams had been to go to Australia to see koalas.
"The first year, we didn't know what we were doing," Schriner said. "But we did it in five weeks, thanks to Bob-O-Link and Smith Catering. They walked us through what needed to be done and took care of a lot."
About 130 American Greetings employees played in the tournament, a sell-out, Moser said. They paid $80 apiece to participate.
Money was also raised by selling mulligans at $5 a pop, and holding a 50-50 raffle and a raffle for a bonus vacation day.
More than half the participants were not at American Greetings Interactive when Spahnie was there, Schriner said.
"It shows the spirit of family we have," Schriner said "People there are just drawn to being part of a good cause."