Gohmann Memorial pays tribute to ‘big-hearted’ man

The sixth annual Todd Gohmann Memorial Golf Outing will take place Saturday at Locust Hills Golf Club in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED

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The sixth annual Todd Gohmann Memorial Golf Outing will take place Saturday at Locust Hills Golf Club in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED

Scott Schurman will never forget what his best friend Todd Gohmann did for him during their senior year of college.

Schurman was called home to Dayton when he his brother Stephen was in the final days of his battle with muscular dystrophy. So Gohmann and two other Georgetown College football teammates drove Schurman home through a heavy rain. Stephen died soon afterward.

“Todd was the first one there besides other family,” Schurman said. “I still remember that to this day. He was just a great, big-hearted person who had time for anybody.”

Gohmann and Schurman met as freshman football players at Alter High School. They played on head coach Ed Domsitz’s first team as seniors in 1981. Gohmann was captain and inducted into the school’s Gridiron Greats in 2014. After Schurman played one season at Southern Miss, he transferred to Georgetown. He wanted a smaller school, to be closer to home and Stephen, and to play football with his “second brother.”

Almost 30 years later, Gohmann was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma. A stem cell transplant at Ohio State put his cancer in remission for 18 months. But the cancer returned and Gohmann died on November 17, 2015.

Now, Schurman, Gohman’s older brother Bruce, and over 100 family members, former teammates, friends and business associates gather every July for the Todd Gohmann Memorial Golf Outing. They will play golf and enjoy tearful reunions Saturday at Locust Hills Golf Club in Springfield to celebrate and honor Todd’s life.

“It just blows me away everybody wanting to get together,” said Schurman, who lives in Georgetown, Kentucky. “It’s a great thing. Todd would be completely blown away.

”It’s a celebration. It’s tears of sad missing Todd, but it’s tears of joy too because I get to see a lot of a lot of people and a lot of really good friends.”

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Todd Gohmann

Todd Gohmann

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Todd Gohmann

Bruce Gohmann, who with his brother owned and operated G&F Tool Company that was started by their father, started the outing the summer after his brother died and this will be the sixth one.

“There was not a person he ever met that didn’t like him,” Gohmann said. “He always treated everybody with respect. The outpouring of people just shows what he meant to everybody.”

Proceeds have contributed almost a combined $40,000 to MD Anderson, a cancer research and treatment center in Houston that Todd visited, local non-profit Maple Tree Cancer Alliance and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I never want to see anybody go through what he went through,” Schurman said. “I don’t know how many rounds of chemo he endured. He endured it the same way he did on a football field – he gave it everything he had and fought to the bitter end. So it means a lot to me to be able to see something good come out of all that.”

As Todd Gohmann neared death, the toughness he showed as an NAIA all-American defensive tackle on the football field made a final appearance. Bruce was returning home from a Thursday night Browns-Bengals game when he got a call that his brother had been rushed to the hospital and was unresponsive. He was put on a ventilator. Five days later the family decided that in a few days they would take him off the ventilator.

Two days later Bruce was coming home from work when he got a FaceTime call from his sister.

“She holds the phone up and she shows me my brother holding this thumb up,” Bruce said. “He came back after being down for five days, and the nurses were just totally astounded. To this day, they still talk about it.”

Many visited Todd for the next couple days. They played music and talked. Todd still had the ventilator tube and couldn’t talk, but he got to interact with everyone for a last time. On Friday, the ventilator was turned off and Todd fell asleep. His vitals remained strong enough to move him to hospice where he died on Sunday morning.

“He had absolutely no response to any stimulation or anything for five days, and then he just woke up,” Bruce said. “Sometimes miracles are a little different.”

Schurman’s loss of his brother to MD and his second brother to cancer make him see life a little differently. He chokes up and fights off tears as he talks about both of them.

“Like I told my mom, there are so many people that have been touched by Stephen, and that’s why the good Lord sent him here,” Schurman said. “And that’s why Todd went through what he went through. If you look deep down at all the terrible things that were endured by the person that went through it, there’s really a bigger life meaning, and during their lives they really touched people and transformed their lives. Steven and Todd were both those type of people.”

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