Louise Solheim, the widow of Ping founder Karsten Solheim, passed away Saturday morning at the age of 99.
“Today we lost a very special woman who touched and improved the lives of so many,” said John A. Solheim, Karsten and Louise’s youngest son and Ping’s Chairman & CEO. “Our mother was a blessing to everyone in so many ways. She had a special quality that gave her the ability to bring a smile to everyone’s face and she handled every situation with grace. We looked to her for guidance in all aspects of our lives and she always took great care to advise us, building our confidence to make decisions ourselves. We will miss her dearly. Our entire family is at peace knowing she’s now in God’s care.”
Louise Solheim’s most noted contributions to the game included working with her husband to build Ping into one of golf’s most successful equipment companies, naming the Ping Anser putter and being a major factor in the creation of the Solheim Cup in 1990.
“Our mother preferred working behind the scenes,” Allan Solheim, the middle son, said. “Karsten’s tinkering with putter designs in our garage began as a hobby, but it quickly turned into a thriving business. From the beginning, my mother assumed the administrative side of the business, allowing Karsten to focus on club designs. She was blessed with an incredible memory, which Karsten relied on regularly. Whether it was remembering someone’s name or the specifics of an event, she always had the answer.”
Her numerous honors include an honorary doctorate degree from Arizona State University (1992), the LPGA’s Commissioner’s Award (1994), Swedish Golf Federation Distinguished Service Award (2003), Arizona Golf Hall of Fame (2004), Arizona State University Regents Award for Outstanding Service to Higher Education (2004), honorary LPGA member (2005) and honorary Ladies European Tour member (2011).
Louise was preceded in death by Karsten (February 2000) and their daughter, Sandra Solheim Aiken (December 2013). She is survived by her three sons: John A. Solheim, Karsten Manufacturing Corporation Chairman, President & CEO; Allan D. Solheim, retired Karsten Manufacturing Executive Vice President and current board member; and Karsten Louis Solheim, retired Karsten Manufacturing Executive Vice President and current board member.
Louise and Karsten had 14 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren and 14 great great grandchildren.