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1926 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
RICH DAVIS M.D. Obituary
Rich Davis, M.D., a prominent Kansas City psychiatrist who created the nationally best- selling barbecue sauce, K C Masterpiece, died peacefully at his home in Leawood, Kansas on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. He was 89. A culinary experimenter and outdoor cooking enthusiast, Rich launched a line of sauces in 1977, but it was his signature KC Masterpiece that excited barbecue enthusiasts across the city and beyond. As the popularity of the sauce grew, Rich moved from full-time family psychiatrist and part-time entrepreneur to full-time barbecue sauce ambassador. Rich gained national attention as a barbecue expert on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Regis and Kathie Lee, and Bobby Flay, as well as being featured in Forbes and People Magazine. In 1986, Rich sold his sauce to the Kingsford Division of the Clorox Company. Davis became the featured spokesman for KC Masterpiece print, radio, and television commercials. He authored two barbecue cookbooks with Shifra Stein, All About Bar-B-Q Kansas City- Style and The All American Barbecue Book. Marketing his own barbecue sauce named for his beloved hometown, Rich turned his passion into a successful business. In 1980, Rich was the Blue Ribbon winner for the first American Royal Barbecue Contest (Commercial Division). A Legacy inductee into the Barbecue Hall of Fame, Rich was invited to prepare and serve a KC Masterpiece barbecue at the White House's annual Congressional Picnic in 1992 and 2004. Born in Joplin, Missouri, on April 7, 1926, Rich was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Ruth Davis, and his older brother Charles. Rich graduated from Topeka High School in 1944. After serving in the army, Rich found his medical calling and received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Kansas. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the Pi Beta Phi Medical Fraternity. Rich began his medical career as a family practitioner and later specialized in Adult and Child Psychiatry. Passionate about the dynamics of family interactions, he co-founded the Family and Child Psychiatric Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1971, Rich followed a new calling in Norfolk, Virginia. Invited to help found a new medical school, Rich turned administrator as the first Associate Dean of the Eastern Virginia Medical School. He then headed north to take on the duties of Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the Medical School at the University of North Dakota in the mid 1970's. Rich led the way in helping the university to transition from a two-to-four year accredited program. After returning to Kansas City, Rich resumed his private practice as Director of the Family and Child Psychiatric Clinic in Johnson County. A Board Examiner in Psychiatry and Neurology from 1972 to 1986, Rich remained an active leader in his medical profession. Rich invested a great deal of his life supporting and serving his Kansas City community. He was the founding chairman of the Board of the Youth Volunteer Corps of America; the founding chairman of the Alliance for Epilepsy Research Board; and Co-Founder of the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Rich was awarded the Distinguished Service Citation by the University of Kansas in 2002, the Kindest Kansas Citian Award in 1991. He and his wife, Coleen, were honored with the Salvation Army William Booth Award in 1993. Rich was an accomplished pianist. He composed many blues and jazz numbers throughout his life. His most classical composition, Two Piano Sonata on Themes, was performed at UMKC's White Hall. His greatest musical thrill was spending a special evening playing two- piano jazz with Kansas City legend Jay McShann. Rich is survived by his devoted wife, Coleen Fry Davis, of Topeka. A loving father, Rich leaves behind four children: Laura (Lewis) Gregory, Rich Davis, Charles Davis, and Claudia (Winn) Friddell. "The Big Ten"- his adoring grandchildren - are Paul (Jessica) and Erin Gregory; Jeffrey, Eric, and Drue (Isaac) Flynn; Alex, Calvin, and Joseph Davis; and Richard and Ann Friddell. His days were particularly brightened by visits from his great granddaughter, Gwen Gregory. The family would like to express their appreciation to Rich's loving caregivers from Elder Care and Kansas City Hospice during his final weeks. Memorial gifts may be made to the Salvation Army or Project Restore at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Online condolences may be shared at Johnson County Memorial Gardens. www.johnsoncountychapel.com A visitation for Dr. Rich Davis will be November 21st, at 12 pm, memorial service at 1 pm, with a reception to follow at Church of the Resurrection, Wesley Chapel, Leawood, KS. J
Published in Kansas City Star on Oct. 11, 2015
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