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Annual golf tourney to memorialize Jenni-Lyn Watson

— Jenni-Lyn Watson lived to dance.

In her memory, her family is holding a golf tournament to help others who share the same passion.

Jenni-Lyn Watson, a 2008 Liverpool High School graduate, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Steven Pieper, in November of 2010 while she was home on break from Mercyhurst College, where she was studying dance. Pieper is currently serving a 23-year-to-life sentence in prison.

The golf tournament, to be held Saturday, July 20, at Radisson Greens in Baldwinsville, raises money for the Jenni-Lyn Watson Memorial Fund.

“The fund is used to create opportunities for local children and teens that have a passion for dance and the arts but cannot always afford the cost of the specialized training,” said David Watson, Jenni-Lyn’s father. “Jenni-Lyn was a nurturing girl who cared for those around her, loved dance, people and life. This is promoted by the fund because it allows us to continue her spirit of helping others and promoting the arts, dance in particular.”

The fund is administered by the Central New York Community Foundation. This year, the Watsons hope to sponsor a summer intensive and begin sponsorship of dance lessons for one to two dancers locally.

The golf tournament is the largest fundraiser for the fund, having raised some $37,000 since its inception three years ago. The tourney is the brainchild of Ed Ventrone, a member of the Liverpool community and a friend of the Watsons’.

“Ed Ventrone… wanted to do something to help us, so he reached out to us in December 2010 with an offer to run a golf tournament to help raise money for the Jenni-Lyn Watson Memorial Fund,” Watson said. “Each year, we hope for 36 teams, but we typically have about 30, or 120 golfers.”

Registration for the tournament begins at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20. Rain date is July 21. Teams of four can register for $400, which includes course fees, lunch and dinner. Dinner alone can be purchased for $30. Organizers are also looking for hole sponsors (prices range from $100 to $1,500) and gift basket donations. To register or for more information, contact Ed Ventrone at 430-8775 or edventrone@yahoo.com.

Watson said he thought his daughter would approve of the effort.

“Jenni-Lyn always loved a party,” Watson said. “She loved to have fun, ‘hang’ with friends and get to know others more. Jenni-Lyn planned and organized gatherings and parties for her friends in elementary school, middle school, high school and college. She would love this.”

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