WNY Golf Legend Fred Silver Passes Away at 74
LEWISTON, N.Y. -- Western New York amateur golf legend Fred Silver of Lewiston passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday.
Silver was a top player in the region for decades, as well as a strong contributor to the game, serving as a past president and board member for the Buffalo District Golf Association (BDGA).
He belonged to Niagara Falls Country Club, where he won twenty-nine club championships, and served as the Porter Cup’s Senior Tournament Director since 1994.
He had great success as a player in the premiere amateur event at Niagara Falls, qualifying for 36 consecutive years beginning in 1970. He completed the “trifecta” for senior players this past summer by winning the Legends Division (70+), to complement to his Super Senior win in 2012, Senior title in 1996. His best finish in the Porter Cup was third place in 1983.
In BDGA Men’s Individual Championship, he holds the record for longest span between first and last titles, 23 years apart. He won the tournament five times between 1972 and 1995, one win off Paul Hyde's record six victories (1924-36). He won the Match Play Championship twice in 2002 and 2005, and held the #1 Golf Ranking in Western New York from 1983-1996.
He successfully qualified for New York State Golf Association (NYSGA) Championships for decades, participating in eighteen Men’s Amateurs and fifteen Mid-Amateurs, including four top-5 finishes in the Men’s Amateur and on-site qualifying medalist at the 1996 Amateur, and runner-up finishes in the 1995 Mid-Amateur and the 2001 Men’s Senior.
The Buffalo-area resident brought his talents to the national level as well, qualifying for 12 USGA Championships over his career, posting eight top-10 finishes and four top-5 finishes in the National Senior Amateur Tournaments, and was the 2002 National Senior-Junior Champion. These accomplishments brought him a #13 ranking nationally in 2002 for Senior Amateurs, ranked by Golf Week magazine. Other wins came at the Senior Chesapeake Cup in 2004, the 2009 Chechessee Creek Senior Invitational, the Super Senior winner at the 2010 Sunnehanna Senior Invitational, and the 2017 U.S. Senior Challenge Man of the Year.
Born and raised in Copper Cliff, Ontario, he excelled at both hockey and golf from a young age. He won the 1966 Northern Ontario Men’s Amateur, and Junior Amateur twice in 1959 and 1961. Decades later in 2002, he was named the Ontario Senior Player of the Year.
Silver attended Clarkson University and was a leading member of both the hockey and golf teams in the late 1960’s. He was the Golden Knights’ leading medalist for three seasons from 1966-68, and was the Independent College Athletic Conference individual champion in 1966 and 1968.
He moved to Lewiston in the late 60's when he began his career as senior engineer at Carborundum Abrasives in Niagara Falls, and became president from 1893 to 1992. He also helped found Exolon-ESK, and was president of Time Release Services Inc. in the 1990s.
The 74-year-old was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, the PGA Western New York Section Hall of Fame in 2006, and the Clarkson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Connie; his son, David; three daughters, Dena Upton, Carolyn Taluja and Julie Silver; and eight grandchildren.