Back to all posts

Larry Giustina – golf’s best friend, everyone’s best friend

Longtime Pacific Northwest Golf Association Board Member and Distinguished Service Award recipient Laraway “Larry” Giustina passed away on July 19, 2022 due to complications of Alzheimer’s. He was 73.

Larry served as a PNGA Club Representative from 1993-2017, and served on the PNGA Board of Directors from 2005-2017. He also served on the board of The Home Course, which is co-operatively owned and operated by the PNGA and WA Golf, as a director from 2010-2017 and as treasurer from 2010- 2016.

In 2018, Larry was the recipient of the PNGA Distinguished Service Award, considered the association’s highest honor. (Watch the video tribute to Larry from that award’s ceremony.)

At the end of the day, for Larry Giustina it was always about doing the right thing.

And this was the reason he was invaluable on any board he served on, in any office he served voluntarily, on any committee he devoted his time to.

This was the reason you always wanted him on your side, for his quiet diplomacy and friendly demeanor, and for his ability to find a way through to what is best in the long run for everyone involved.

It was always this way for Larry. Close to the land, close to his family, generous with his friends, honorable toward his beliefs.

Larry was born July 4, 1949, in Eugene, Ore., to Nat and Jacqueline Giustina. While attending Oregon State University, he met the love of his life, Carolyn Keen, and they married Aug. 5, 1972. Larry graduated with a degree in Business from OSU and lettered in golf.

Outside of his family, timber, golf, and Oregon State University were his loves. He dedicated his work career to his family’s businesses, Giustina Land & Timber and Tokatee Golf Club. He was happiest outside on a golf course or amongst the trees. He was an avid Oregon State fan, and you could find him cheering on the Beavers at all their home football and basketball games.

Larry was prominently involved in the timber industry, golf industry and the Oregon State University community. The governor appointed him to serve three terms on the State Board of Forestry, he was the past chair of the Oregon Forest Industries Council, and past chair of the Northwest Forestry Association.

In the early 1960s, Larry’s father Nat bought a large parcel of land near the family cabin along the McKenzie River about an hour east of Eugene, with the idea of building a golf course. It became a family project, with nine holes of Tokatee Golf Club opening in 1966, followed by the other nine holes a few years later.

Nat had hired noted course architect Ted Robinson to design the course, but its philosophical foundation and spirit came from Nat; and Larry, in high school at the time, worked on the crew that built the course. Tokatee remains a Giustina family-run business to this day.

Larry served as the general partner at Tokatee Golf Club in McKenzie Bridge, Ore. and as the board president of Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. In 2008, he was named the Don Rossi Award winner by the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA). He served as a member of the NGCOA Board of Directors from 1992-2005. He is considered one of the key leaders during a period in which the association grew in size and respect.

He was an active member of Eugene Country Club where he was a two-time club champion and a five-time winner of the Men’s Invitational spanning three different decades.Larry’s service to OSU was extraordinary, spanning more than 30 consecutive years on many leadership boards. He served as President of the OSU Alumni Association, the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees from 1993-2008, and as a member of The Beaver Club/Beaver Athletic Scholarship Fund. He was the Lifetime Trustee Award recipient in 2017.

Larry and Carolyn were together for over 50 years. They were lucky enough to have their daughter, Kate Hudson (Kyle) and son, Mark Giustina (Shelley) return to Eugene to raise their families. There was nothing that Larry loved more than attending activities and sporting events of his six grandchildren: Jack, Nick, Lexi, CJ, Ella, and Lucy. He was their number one fan.

Larry’s infectious smile, bright blue eyes, kind heart and beautiful golf swing will be greatly missed.

Always doing the right thing. Always looking at the larger picture. Always giving to tomorrow. Larry Giustina was a graceful man, and you always wanted him in the room, at your table.