Local family remembers Arnold Palmer's humanity, kindness

Posted at 5:31 PM, Sep 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 04:43:02-04

People across the world and here in Palm Beach County are remembering Arnold Palmer.

He designed one of the courses at PGA National. It’s simply known as the Palmer. While he was a great golfer, a man we met today says Palmer was a much greater man.

“This is his little Arnold Palmer section of his wall,” said Gary Lesser, as he pointed to his 81-year-old father’s treasures on the wall.

“My dad is sad today,” said Lesser about his father, Shepard Lesser.

There’s a signed picture of the two men that Arnold Palmer sent Shepard when he volunteered at the West Palm Beach Country club in the seventies.

“My father would say, 'Hello remember me I'm Shep Lesser,' ” said Gary. “He would start giving my father things to commemorate their visits together.”

And a personalized practice putter that to this day means so much.

“Arnold Palmer said he would send him one,” said Gary. “My father didn't believe that was going to happen and a week later, a personalized Arnold Palmer putter came in the mail. My father couldn't believe it.”

But it’s the golfing legend’s kindness and humanity that both father and son remember most about him.

“He was the first golf superstar and he never lost touch of the fact of who he is, where he came from and that there's other people just like him, who like to play golf,” explained Gary.

When Lesser turned 75, his son wrote to Arnold Palmer.

“I told them the story about how my father and Arnold Palmer were in contact for decades,” recalled Gary.

He asked for a letter wishing his father happy birthday. He didn’t think it would come.

“A week, week and a half later we get the letter, which hangs in my father's office now,” said Gary. “Arnold Palmer is one of a kind.”

Palmer is remembered for making golf a game for everyone, for his big personality and of course the drink named after him that’s half iced tea, half lemonade.