(L-R) Dwight Smith, Chuck Christopher, Cal Christopher, and Kyle Smith, longtime friends of the Gebhardt family, participated in the Stevie D Classic.

More than 100 golfers and friends turned out Sept. 26 at Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw to honor the memory of Dunwoody resident Steve Gebhardt, who died in January of an accidental opioid overdose. 

The event raised more than $10,000 for Young Life – a cause that was important to the Gebhardt family. The funds will provide “camperships” for those unable to afford the cost of Young Life retreats.

Gephardt, known to most as “Stevie D,” was an athlete and popular Dunwoody High School graduate who had struggled with addiction issues for several years. He had been sober for six months but according to his parents, had taken Xanax laced with Fentanyl with a friend on the evening of Jan. 26, which led to his death five days later.

“He was so good 90 percent of the time, but the other 10 percent was what killed him,” his father, Steve Gebhardt said. “He didn’t understand that a little pill could turn a life around so drastically.”

The Stevie D Classic was the brainchild of his close friends Logan and Tanner Elliott, Austin Broth, Tyler Reid and Rand Eberhard, Gebhardt said. Pinetree was the logical choice for the venue as Stevie D was an employee there prior to his death. 

“The membership knew and loved him,” Gebhardt said. “He was very service-oriented.”

While the reason for the tournament was difficult, Gebhardt said that seeing all the people who loved his son come to the event touched the family.

“He would have loved to see all of his buddies come together,” Gebhardt said. “It exceeded our expectations in every way.”

Allison Witt, area director for Perimeter North Young Life, said the funds from the golf tournament will added to those already collected in Stevie D’s name in past months.

“Perimeter North Young Life has gotten to see how loved and supported the Gebhardt family is firsthand by being the recipient of the generous gifts (previously donated),” Witt said.  In Young Life, we never want money to be the reason why a high schooler doesn’t go to camp and now, because of Steve and Cindy setting up the Stevie D Gebhardt Memorial Scholarship, we can eliminate that potential barrier for a really long time.”

Gebhardt said organizers hope to make the Stevie D Classic an annual event.

“Even though it was a lot of work, there seems to be a lot of momentum to continue it,” he said. “

Twenty-four teams took to the links during the day-long event, which, after a three-way tie, ended in a 25-meter swim-off in Pinetree’s pool. The Elliott team, comprised of the Elliott brothers, dad, Jared Elliott, and Reid, prevailed to take home the title.

Attendees say they were drawn to a poster at the tournament featuring Stevie D’s wide smile and signature pose that summed up the complicated feelings surrounding his death – “Our lives are not the same without him, but we will do our part to see his legacy lived into the lives of young people.”

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at cathy@roughdraftatlanta.com