Honoring the Enduring Impact of a Larger-Than-Life Local Leader
Donna Tarwater confesses that she may have raised an eyebrow or two when her husband, Scott, mentioned their future involvement in pickleball. After all, Donna was still in the recovery phase following her knee replacement surgery and struggled to even walk without assistance, let alone take up a new sport on short notice. However, Scott, a passionate outdoorsman who remained active at the age of 74, was captivated by the possibilities and managed to convince Donna that she would be back on her feet in no time.
When that glorious day finally arrived, Scott wanted them both to hit the ground running.
“He was an avid fisherman and hunter, but he was determined that pickleball would become our sport,” Donna shared with a chuckle. “He had me watching videos, exploring YouTube—everything. He even got our grandkids hooked on pickleball. The craze had taken hold, and suddenly everything was about pickleball.”
While Donna embraced the idea wholeheartedly, she had to remind Scott, “Let’s prioritize my recovery first.”
Unfortunately, they never had the opportunity to embark on their pickleball journey together. In October, while celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary on vacation, Scott, a respected consultant, and hotel development professional, passed away unexpectedly. His sudden death shook their family—the Tarwaters have two grown children, Renee and Reece, as well as eight grandchildren—and sent shockwaves through the Flower Mound community. Scott was revered for his commitment to giving back, forging connections among people, and ensuring that everyone he encountered understood their value. Those closest to him described him as a hardworking individual and an unwavering friend.
Motivated by a desire to honor Scott’s memory, Donna, along with their children and numerous close friends, established the Tarwater Legacy Giving Fund. This 501(c)(3) charitable organization aims to preserve Scott’s legacy of generosity and compassion by investing in the community and fostering unity through sportsmanship, laughter, love, and charitable giving.
Although the finer details are still being worked out, the plan is to provide financial assistance to local children and collaborate with various charities to enhance the lives of the less fortunate. Beyond monetary support, the fund seeks to inspire others to make a tangible difference by giving back.
Donna explained, “We are still in the early stages, but we already have a dedicated committee working out the specifics of the fund’s future operations. We want to establish a lasting legacy that continues Scott’s tradition of giving.”
Given Scott’s love for pickleball, the organization has chosen to make the sport the focal point of its fundraising endeavors. On April 29, they hosted the inaugural “Hit it Like You Live” Pickleball Tournament at Chicken N Pickle in Grapevine, raising approximately $45,000. The event attracted thirty-two teams, comprising both social and competitive players.
Medals were awarded to the top three teams in each division.
Bruce Schultes, the treasurer for the Tarwater Legacy Giving Fund, shared, “Back in February, I presented the idea of organizing a pickleball tournament in Scott’s honor to Donna. Typically, planning such tournaments can take up to six months, but everything fell into place swiftly. Amidst it all, Donna somehow managed to establish a foundation. Her dedication is truly commendable.”
Donna explained that holding a pickleball tournament as a centerpiece of their legacy fund felt like the perfect choice.
“We named it ‘Hit it Like You Live’ because that was always Scott’s catchphrase,” Donna revealed. “Even before we had children, he and his father would say that. I couldn’t be prouder of the success of our inaugural event and the fact that we are building a legacy that honors Scott. I want to express my gratitude to all the sponsors who made this possible, and extend my thanks to the Cross Timbers Rotary, whose invaluable support and volunteerism played a significant role. I know Scott is undoubtedly looking down on us with a beaming smile and waving. We often imagine him in that way—watching over us. This initiative aligns perfectly with his spirit, and he would have absolutely loved it.”
As for Donna’s long-awaited moment on the pickleball court, she shared that she is steadily inching closer to realizing that dream.
And, just like her late husband, she will be prepared to hit the ground running.
“It will be an incredibly special moment, no doubt,” Donna expressed with anticipation.
For those interested in learning more about the Tarwater Legacy Giving Fund, including opportunities to donate, volunteer, delve deeper into Scott Tarwater’s legacy, or participate in next year’s pickleball tournament, please visit tarwatergivingfund.com.
In the wake of a heartbreaking loss, Donna Tarwater, her children, and a supportive community are keeping the flame of Scott’s generosity alive. Through the Tarwater Legacy Giving Fund, they aim to make a lasting impact on their community, embodying Scott’s values of compassion and giving. As they continue to refine their plans, they stand united in their commitment to honoring Scott’s memory and creating a lasting legacy of kindness and support.
To learn more about the Tarwater Legacy Giving Fund, including ways to donate, volunteer, learn more about Scott Tarwater, or sign up for next year’s pickleball tournament, please visit tarwatergivingfund.com.