In memoriam: David W. Fearis, CGCS Retired

The GCSAA Past President and former director of membership for the association passed away March 10.


David Fearis golf
David Fearis in 2015. Photo by Roger Billings

David W. Fearis, CGCS Retired, passed away March 10. He was 74.

Fearis, a 53-year GCSAA member, served as association president in 1999 and was the director of membership for GCSAA from 2005 to 2010. From 1985 to 2000, Fearis oversaw Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City, Mo. He served on the boards of the Heart of America GCSA and the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation, and was president of The First Tee of Greater Kansas City in 2006-07.

“His primary focus was to make the golf industry better for everybody that is growing grass,” says Scott Woodhead, CGCS Retired, a 39-year GCSAA member and association president in 2000.

A graduate of Purdue University, Fearis’ first superintendent job was at the Country Club of Peoria (Ill.). Later on, at Blue Hills CC, he hosted numerous Children’s Mercy Classics, the annual charity event of major champion Tom Watson.

The Heart of America chapter twice honored Fearis with its Chester H. Mendenhall Award, presented for outstanding service in the profession. Fearis received GCSAA’s Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award in 2016 and was inducted into the Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame in 2020.

Sandy Queen, CGCS Retired, a 44-year GCSAA member, says of Fearis: “He was a gentleman’s gentleman and the kindest person you would ever meet.”

David Fearis CGCS
Fearis at Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City, Mo., circa 1999. Photo by Bruce Mathews

David W Fearis
Under Fearis’ watch, Blue Hills Country Club became a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. As part of the program, Fearis served as an educational resource for students and administrators at Martin City Elementary School in Kansas City, Mo. “My role on the golf course is to preserve the beauty of golf, and my role with this program is to provide guidance for preserving the beauty of our communities,” he said. Photo by Bruce Mathews

Dave Fearis Kansas City
Fearis (seated, in plaid) and the crew at Blue Hills Country Club circa 1999. Photo by Bruce Mathews

David Fearis
Fearis (left) with professional golfer and Kansas City native Tom Watson.