Laura Grannemann describes Nick Gilbert with a story about texts. She’s the executive director of the Gilbert Family Foundation, and he was always spit-balling ideas.
“I would get a text in the middle of the night or at some random time saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got this great idea. I want to introduce you to this person to do something really impactful,’” Grannemann told pgatour.com. “And it was always a musical artist or a creative professional or someone he had met on a trip who had a passion about something.
“He just loved connecting the dots to help people to both do impactful work, but also create something really fun and innovative.”
To that end, folks believe he’d be pleased.
Thursday was Bow Tie Day at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Pros and others at Detroit Golf Club wore them, via a small, red pin designed like one. You could eat them, thanks to a cookie baked like one. The 9th and 18th hole flags had bow ties in the middle. Caddies also wore bibs with Nick Gilbert’s name on the back, instead of their players’.
Gilbert had worn a bow tie, too — perhaps most memorably at the 2011 NBA draft, where the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert attended in hopes of landing the top pick (it worked) — and now he was being remembered. The 26-year-old died last month due to a lifelong fight with neurofibromatosis, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on nerve tissue.
In the interview with pgatour.com, Grannemann and tournament officials then went to work on the day, with the hope of raising money and awareness for neurofibromatosis. The tournament and city have a deep connection to the Gilbert family — Dan co-founded Rocket Mortgage, the tourney sponsor, and the Detroit-area native and his wife, Jennifer, have donated millions to Detroit.
“Nick was an incredible person,” Grannemann told pgatour.com. “I think one of the things that really stands out to me is the fact that he truly never let his diagnosis sway him from doing anything. And in fact, it was almost like a driving force for him to constantly move forward with whatever he had set his mind to doing.
“He was an incredibly positive person, very optimistic, very outgoing, and always took great pride in bringing people together. So that’s part of the reason that we thought that this Bow Tie initiative at the Rocket Mortgage Classic would be such a great way to honor Nick, because the Rocket Mortgage Classic is a great example of bringing people together around a common mission.
“And while you’re doing that, might as well have some fun.”
— To learn more on the Gilbert Family Foundation, please click here.
— To learn more on NF Forward, a non-profit funding neurofibromatosis research, please click here.
— To read the complete pgatour.com story, please click here.