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TP Forever and ever

Golf tournament to keep alive memory of remarkable young man


by: SUBMITTED - Tony Platt had many dog friends, including Midnight, a pooch he saved from a life of abuse and turned into the happiest, friendliest dog ever.The sorrow over the loss of Tony Platt is deep, strong and permanent. But the TP Forever Foundation will keep his memory alive and do what he always did in his 28 years on Earth: help people.

“Chris told me, ‘I don’t want people to ever forget Tony,’” said his mother, Kathy Schilling, a longtime fixture with the Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation Department.

It is easy to understand why Tony’s family, Schilling, his dad, Mark Platt, and his six brothers and sisters — twin brother Chris, Mark Jr., Danny, Nathan, Emily and Betsy — want to assure that never happens. Millions of words could be used to describe Tony, but a single photo does it best. It shows him with a black dog perched on his shoulders, and it’s not a small dog, either. The pup’s chin is resting on Tony’s head and his front paws are draped around his neck. Tony is wearing a huge grin.

Tony Platt was a dog’s best friend, and man’s, too.by: SUBMITTED - Here are the Platt kids (now adults), all seven of them. In front are sisters Emily and Betsy. In back are brothers Nathan, Chris, Mark, Tony and Danny.

On Oct. 22, Tony’s birthday, the first Tony Platt Memorial Golf Tournament will be played at Pumpkin Ridge, and it has been an easy sale in his hometown of Lake Oswego.

“Everyone has been supportive,” said Chris, who has taken the lead role in starting the foundation and organizing the tournament. “Seventy-six or 77 people have already signed up, and we expect 120, which is really good for the first year of a benefit golf tournament. A lot of foundations offered their support and we didn’t even have to solicit them. They asked, ‘How can we help?’”

“Everyone is coming together,” brother Mark said. “It is great to have that kind of support. All of Tony’s friends are coming to the golf tournament.”

That’s a lot of friends. At Tony’s memorial service, the large sanctuary of Our Lady of the Lake Parish was completely filled and there were many more people standing outside. Even his family was stunned by the effect Tony had on so many lives.

Schilling said, “I turned around and I saw people from my Bible study that I hadn’t seen in 25 years.”

The Platt family is still in sorrow and shock over Tony’s sudden death on May 21. He died in his sleep in the house he shared with Chris in Portland.by: SUBMITTED - Tony Platt's family unfurls the banner of TP Forever during the Hood to Coast event held in August. They competed as a team and kept Tonys name on the roster.

One reason his death has been almost unbearable for his loved ones is that the cause is still unknown, and his family is still searching for answers. Originally, it was reported that Tony died of a heart condition called myocarditis, which triggered a cardiac arrhythmia that caused his death. Then it was reported that it wasn’t myocarditis at all.

“He had just had knee surgery and had just started running,” Schilling said. “He said he felt a little winded and went to bed. We’re continuing to look for the reasons. We want to see if there were genetic reasons.”

“The normal means of investigating a death are not relevant in Tony’s case,” his sister Emily said. “Stuff that works for 99 percent of the cases did not work in this case. There was no proof at all of myocarditis. No evidence at all.”

“I don’t have a lot of confidence in the findings,” Chris said.

The healing over Tony’s death has barely started, but there are so many memories of him, and talking about them helps. Tony was gifted with a wonderful life and then proceeded to make life wonderful for others. Most of his life was spent in Lake Oswego, where he lived in perhaps the liveliest household in town. With seven kids running around, along with their buddies, the Platt home was always booming with activity. Activity like Tony and Chris, the youngest of the tribe, running through a gauntlet of beanbags thrown by their siblings in the kitchen.

“There was never, never any alone time,” Mark said. “There were always people there.”

However, there were great benefits to this condition.

“There was always somebody to play soccer with, go in the woods with and go dirt biking with,” Emily said.

“I got a note from one of Tony’s friends that said, ‘I always wanted to be a Platt,’ “ Schilling said.

Truly, being a Platt kid was terrific, and it only seemed to get better as time went on. All of the kids were athletic, and their exploits at Lake Oswego High School got blanket coverage from longtime Review photographer Vern Uyetake.

By her estimates, Schilling said, “There are about 3,982 pictures in the Lake Oswego Review of my kids doing sports. One lady asked if I was working at the Review.”

No, her children were just that good.

Fortunately, Tony did not peak in childhood. He was also a scholarly lad and went on to superb academic career at Oregon State University, then succeeded in business by really trying and earning a master’s degree in business administration at Portland State University, as Mark pointed out, “totally on his own volition.”

“Tony was really smart,” Chris said. “He was very successful in his career.”

But he was so much more than an ultra-busy businessman.

“Tony was so generous and caring,” Emily said, “so he wasn’t consumed by his work. His life was really balanced. People are making him out to be a saint, but he was so fun. He was an incredible, incredible young man.”

High on Tony’s list of priorities were dogs. He was such a friend to the canine class that he received the Diamond Collar Award from the Oregon Humane Society in February of this year.

“Tony was a dog foster father,” Schilling said. “That means he kept a dog for a couple weeks before it got its new home. But there was a dog called Midnight that was evidence in a court battle. Midnight was so abused and scared, and Tony kept him for 15 months. By the time he left, he was the happiest, friendliest dog ever.”

Midnight is the dog that appears in the previously mentioned photo, which was used in the program for the Diamond Collar Awards.

Yet it was his family that topped Tony’s list. He was always doing thoughtful, kind, funny things, and he loved surprises, like getting everyone tickets for a sports event or concert. He was liable to do anything that was nutty, like wearing wild Halloween costumes (i.e., a ceiling fan, a party pooper) or attempting to bring a huge bunch of balloons into sister Betsy’s house and then getting them hopelessly wrapped around a pole.

The only bad thing about Tony was that he left everyone way too soon. His family continues to be devastated by his loss. But thanks to his best friend, his brother Chris, they are now on the road to healing.

“All of us have contributed to supporting this foundation,” Emily said. “But it was Chris who really got it going. He has done an amazing job. I was still bemoaning everything. Everyone who knew Tony feels ripped off and cheated by his death. But it was Chris who wanted us to find a way to remember Tony.”

“We were literally living a nightmare,” Chris said. “I asked, ‘What can we do?’ With TP Forever we’re creating a scholarship that will go on in perpetuity. It will literally go on forever. In 10 years we hope to have six scholarships so we can impact six lives and not just one.”

“The foundation helps us bend something that was so negative into something positive,” Mark said. “We’re going to be helping people in Tony’s name. This has galvanized us, and it will be something we’ll look forward to every year. It’s going to be better every year.”

“Tony loved bringing people together,” Chris said. “This event will bring hundreds of people together.”

The TP Forever Foundation will benefit Oregon State University and the Oregon Humane Society.

For more information about the TP Forever Golf Tournament, go to tpforever.org/golf.