John Maurice Overby, 85, of St. Joseph, passed away Friday, November 25, 2016, at Mosaic Life Care. He was born December 18, 1930, in Wichita, Kansas, son of the late Emma and Jesse Overby. On July 21, 1950, he married Lola Jean Ferguson, and they have shared 66 years of marriage together. Johnny served in the US Marine Corp during the Korean Conflict. Johnny's golfing life began in 1952, when he was assigned to Special Services at the Camp Pendleton golf course. Returning to Wichita in 1954 after completing his tour, he started his professional career at Sim Park Golf Course as an assistant.
After a five year apprenticeship he became a full Class A Professional as first assistant at McDonald Park Golf
Course. In 1961, he was named head professional at L. W. Clapp Golf Course, Wichita. His next move was to
Fairview Golf Course, St. Joseph, where he served as Pro-Manager from 1971 to 1979. In this position he
implemented a registration to play system, initiated a reserved tee time system (the first in the city) and started
the first Junior Golf Program in St. Joseph. He gave free lessons open to all juniors in the city and held an end of
Starting in 1961, he began officiating basketball and football to augment his income during the winter season. In
1961, the coaching staff at WSU asked him to apply to work in the Missouri Valley Conference. He became known
for his ability to control the games and rules knowledge. He was assigned Division I college games all over the
Midwest, and by the mid 1960's was working each year end the NCAA various regional games. He worked the
NCAA final in 1969. His football officiating was just as prestigious and he was the referee at the first Blue Bonnet
Football Bowl game in Houston, Texas in 1964 and again refereedthe game in 1965. Notable player was Howard
Twilley who went on to an NFL career. In 1969, he was sent to Europe to give clinics to Air Force teams. During
this time, he had remained an MVC official and after moving to St. Joseph he added Big 8 after his name. In 1978,
the Missouri Valley Conference asked him to be a full time supervisor of basketball and football officials, he
resigned from the golf course and moved to Tulsa. In 1982 ,the Big 8 negotiated with the MVC and he added the
same title to both conferences. He served on the NCAA football rules committee several years and served as
president of the Collegiate Supervisors Committee for two years. In 1985, the MVC was moving the office to St.
Louis, he left the conference and bought a small business, kept the Big 8 work for another three years.
Cancer brought all this to a close, but he beat the cancer and accepted a position with the NBA observing southern
teams for another five years. He has been given many awards, but the one he was most proud of was the John
Sanders Award from the MVC. He was the first recipient. This award is to the past or present (MVC) person who
represents the moral, ethical and integrity this conference.
After putting away the basketball and football, Johnny and wife moved back to St. Joseph to watch a grandson
They are blessed with daughters, Connie (Dave) Moore, of Wichita, Jackie (Dave) Black, of St. Joseph, Patricia
(Gene) Kowalewycz, of Lamar, Arkansas, and son, John (Teresa), of Lee’s Summit, Missouri; three grandsons are
Kyle (Rachel) Black, Kansas City, Joshua Overby (Allison), Kansas City, and Corey (Jessica) Moore, Wichita; and to
top it all, there is Annie Overby and Emma Moore.
Johnny's family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, at the Rupp Funeral Horne to celebrate his life and
share memories. Memorials are requested to the YMCA, Wichita. Online condolence and obituary at www.ruppfuneral. com.
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