John “JR” Reynolds of West Palm Beach, a respected member of the Palm Beach-area golf community who had been battling cancer in recent years, died Thursday. He was 51.
The son of Mike Reynolds, the first head pro at the Loxahatchee Club, JR Reynolds played golf and baseball at Benjamin and golf at Duke from 1984-88.
Diagnosed with stage 4 colon and liver cancer in 2012, Reynolds underwent four surgeries to remove a baseball-sized tumor from his colon and underwent 18 rounds of chemotherapy before being declared cancer-free.
In 2015, he won the Palm Beach International, an event played on the Stableford system at Martin Downs Golf Course in Palm City.
But last year the cancer returned in the form of carcinoma on his tongue. He had his tongue removed and wore a tracheotomy tube around his throat to breathe and eat, communicating mostly by text messages and email.
Former LPGA star Michelle McGann had known Richards since their childhood days in junior golf.
“We were all close; that’s what golf does,” McGann said Saturday. “When John got sick, everybody did what they could to make him feel better. It was very difficult to watch one of your peers, someone who’s just a few years older, go through what he did.
“I saw him last Sunday and you could see a huge decline from even a week before. But the good part is he’s not suffering anymore.”
Mark Calcavecchia, Brad Faxon and Dana Quigley were among area pros who attended a fundraiser on Reynolds’ behalf at Bear Lakes Country Club in December that attracted nearly 150 players, forcing organizers to spill it onto a second course. The event raised $108,000.
“It was an amazing turnout, which spoke volumes about JR,” Calcavecchia said Saturday. “It’s hard to round up that many amateurs for any cause. It was a pretty cool tribute.”
Reynolds’ sister, Julie, wrote on her Facebook page that funeral arrangements are incomplete.