2005: Newsmakers - Easterly devoted himself to game

Harry W. Easterly Jr., former executive director and president of the U.S. Golf Association, died June 18 of cancer. He was 82.

“The world golf community has lost a tremendous person and terrific ambassador for this game,” said Grant E. Key III, Virginia State Golf Association president.

After serving as president of the VSGA from 1965-66, Easterly became an executive committee member for the USGA in 1968 and served as president for two years, 1976-77. He served as senior executive director of the USGA from 1980-83.

During those years the USGA added another event to its list of national championships, the Woman’s Amateur Public Links, but Easterly also was remembered for his tactful and skillful handling of a death threat against Hubert Green at the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

“He was a great friend of mine for 30 years and his contributions to Virginia golf and the USGA will be remembered for a long time,” USGA president Fred Ridley said.

Ridley recalled that he met Easterly at the 1975 U.S. Amateur, played on Easterly’s home course, the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond. Easterly oversaw the course setup.

“How Harry set up the Country Club of Virginia, with 5-inch Bermuda rough, remains the toughest, thickest USGA championship setup I’ve ever seen,” remembered Ridley, who won that match-play title.

Easterly, a World War II veteran, was runner-up in the 1956 Virginia State Amateur. Known as one who craved challenges and sought opportunities to better golf, he resigned his post at Wheat, First Securities in Richmond to become senior executive director of the USGA in 1980.

He served as captain of the U.S. team for the 1980 World Amateur Team Championship at Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course.

Easterly is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary, and four children.

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