In Memoriam: John Marman

The following message is sent on behalf of GCSANC Preferred Partner, West Coast Turf


The West Coast Turf Family has suffered a tragic loss. On Sunday, August 14th, 2022, John Marman, our VP of Sale and Marketing, passed away.

John started with West Coast Turf at age 24, and for the last 27 years rose to be our Vice President of Sales and a leader in our industry.

He leaves behind his sister, Danielle Scardino, sister, Sue Hanks, and his 11-year-old son, Knox, the light of his life.

He was a friend to all. There are no words that can describe the terrible grief and pain his loss brings to all of us in the West Coast Turf Family.

The GCSANC Board of Directors and staff extend heartfelt condolences to John’s family, friends, co-workers, and all whom he touched.

In Memoriam: Bill Bengeyfield

Respected golf industry legend Bill Bengeyfield passed away at the age of 97 on June 3rd. Bill worked in the golf industry for 35 years. He started in 1955 with the USGA Green Section, where he worked as an agronomist, before leaving to become Director of Golf Courses and Park Maintenance at Industry Hills Golf Club in 1978. In 1982, Bill returned to The Green Section, serving as the National Director until his retirement in 1990.

Many people remember Bill for more than the legacy he left behind, but for being a mentor, and helping to guide the agronomy industry to where it is today. Kimberly Erusha, who works as the Managing Director of the Green Section, remembers Mr. Bengeyfield as a strong leader with “loud opinions” who wanted to ensure all work being done was doing right by the game of golf. “He was a staunch supporter of the USGA’s research program to ensure that the information provided through the Turf Advisory Service (now called the Course Consulting Service) was based in science.”

Off the course, Bengeyfield was a gifted writer who worked as the Publications Editor for the Green Section Record for almost two decades. Erusha spoke highly of Bengeyfield’s writing and the esteem it has in staff members’ minds, “He himself was a prolific writer who had a gift of the pen to craft a clear and compelling message. Internally, rumor has it his staff memos were legendary.”

Mr. Bengeyfield’s much discussed memos were not fiction, as USGA Green Section’s former West Region Regional Director Pat Gross confirmed coming across many of them while working at USGA. Gross echoed Erusha’s sentiments about Bengeyfield’s talent for writing, and finding find the famous memos throughout their files. “Our files were filled with his peppery memos (most of which I still have…). Legendary! I always admired his leadership, his writing, and most of all his candor.”

Gross went on to describe one of his fondest memories of Bengeyfield, that not only shows a more playful side to his personality, but that his agronomy knowledge was literally down to a science. “He had a very precise prescription for fertilizer application for the Pencross putting greens. As Mike Huck tells the story, there was an application of lime followed one week later by an application of ammonium sulfate (A fatal combination resulting in ammonium gas). Well, that ended up burning the heck out of the greens, and Bill was convinced it was due to misapplication.”

“As usual, Huck did the deep dive into the agronomy. Bengy assembled the superintendents and assistants at the practice green to show them how to properly apply ammonium sulfate. He went down the line of young Turks and asked them how this demonstration was going to turn out. Most agreed with Bill with a few dissenters (Huck – typical). Well, the ammonium sulfate went down, they turned on the water, and the smell of ammonium gas filled the air! Bill was reported to say, ‘I will be taking all of you out to dinner tonight, I and I will be eating an appropriate portion of crow.’”

Funny business aside, Bengeyfield is consistently regarded as being a genuinely warm person bound to positively impact anyone who had the pleasure of talking or working with him. Steve Carlton, a retired golf course superintendent and a friend of Bengeyfield’s for forty-nine years, summed up how most felt after getting to know Bengeyfield: “A smarter, kinder, gentler man would be hard to find. He had a profound effect on how I grew turf and managed golf courses and I feel a great sadness at his passing.”

Despite retiring in 1990, Bengeyfield has left long lasting effects on the golf industry. Bill was a founding figure in establishing the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program, which currently remains impactful on how golf courses are maintained. His legacy also reaches those who follow in his footsteps today. Each person who had the pleasure of learning from and spending time with Mr. Bengeyfield may have a different memory about their time with him, but what remains unanimous in each person’s thoughts is the acknowledgment that golf agronomy is where it is today in part because of Bengeyfield’s career of dedication and hard work.

In Memoriam: GCSANC Member John Grant

It is with great sadness we inform you of the passing of John Grant, Retired-Class A Life Member who passed away on March 10th at the age of 91.

John attended Norte Dame and graduated from the University of Minnesota. He was a pilot in the Navy and was still serving in the Navy Air Reserve at Alameda into the 1980’s when he started work in the Bay Area with The San Francisco Examiner. Following his tenure with the newspaper, John began work with the William Sherman Company—Golf Course Consultants in San Rafael as a Western Representative for the National Golf Foundation. He then worked for the City of San Francisco as the Golf Director before moving to San Mateo Golf Course where he became the golf course superintendent in 1981. John worked for San Mateo until 1994 when he became a Retired-Class A Member of the association.

John was a longstanding member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California  and also served on the GCSANC Board of Directors.

John’s retirement was spent with his family, and in his free time he attended GCSANC meetings and made time for golf.

We send our condolences to the family of John during this time. 

In Memoriam: Randal C. Gai, CGCS

We are extremely saddened to inform you of the passing of Randal “Randy” Gai, CGCS, on Thursday, February 28, 2019. Randy’s involvement with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California spans decades, including tenures as a member of our Board of Directors, President, and member of our planning committee for The Institute.

It would be a monumental task to fully describe Randy’s impact on our association, our industry, Claremont Country Club, and colleagues during a career that spanned over forty years. It was because of his outstanding career of service that Randy received our 2013 George Santana Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a long-standing commitment, dedication and contribution to our association and the turfgrass industry.

Randy was also awarded our Excellence in Turfgrass Management Award in 1991 and Superintendent of the Year in 1995. He was a Class A Life Member of our association.

Randy is survived by his son Greg, an F16 pilot for a NATO squad currently stationed in Italy, and his daughter Chelsea, who has stayed local and currently attends school. Randy was a tremendous friend and mentor to so many over the span of his career, which began at the age of 13.

Randy was loved dearly by his colleagues and will be greatly, greatly missed.

To learn a little more about Randy, please see our article here written in honor of his recognition as our 2013 George Santana Distinguished Service Award recipient.

We send our deepest condolences to Randy’s family, friends and colleagues.

In Memoriam: Clifford Wagoner, CGCS

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Clifford A. Wagoner, CGCS at the age of 97.

Thank you to Gary Carls for preparing the following tribute to Mr. Wagoner:

For those of us fortunate to know him he was a great friend and mentor. For those of you who may not have known him I would like to share just a few brief notes on his legacy with both GCSANC and GCSAA.

As part of GCSANC, Clifford was actively involved well into his 80’s and he and his wife Myrtle were the leaders in putting together our 65th Anniversary Meeting back in 1997 as well as compiling a complete chapter history of the first 65 years of our chapter. Clifford served as GCSANC President in 1959, 1965 and 1967 and was heavily involved in setting the chapter on it’s course as one of the leading chapters of GCSAA. He also was involved in the early days of what soon became the California GCSAA.

With GCSAA, Clifford was the chair of the committee that created the GCSAA Certification program and later became GCSAA President in 1973. Clifford remained deeply involved with GCSAA throughout his career and was a positive role model for many of us who came after him. He spent most of his career at Del Rio CC in Modesto where he retired as GM back in the 1980’s. He and Myrtle both attended over 50 GCSAA Conferences and one of my great memories of them both will be of having the opportunity to help escort them around a few years back as they attended what would be their final GIS in San Diego. They had developed so many great friendships over the years with GCSAA and GCSANC that it was great just to see the smiles as they reconnected with so many friends from the past.

Clifford always took the time to share his thoughts and ideas with those of us who would ask him questions and I always appreciated his insight. He will be sorely missed by so many of us who knew him and worked with him on many various GCSANC projects. He will be re-united in heaven with his dear wife of over 76 years, Myrtle, whom we lost last year. They were truly one great team and made GCSANC what it is today.

Rest in Peace, My Friend

Service Information

Celebration of Life Memorial – Clifford Wagoner
Friday, June 1, 2018
11:00 a.m.
Del Rio Country Club
801 Stewart Road
Modesto, CA 95356

Donation Information

Clifford & Myrtle Wagoner Scholarship and Research Fund
Make checks payable to GCSANC
2215 21st Street
Sacramento, CA 95818

Or

Optimal Hospice
1101 Sylvan Ave #B-10
Modesto, CA 95350

Burial was private