In Memory

Greg Fernley

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06/14/09 02:54 AM #1    

Thomas E. Thulin

This is a complete shock to me, I remember Greg from Emerson Elem., Roosivelt and then East. He was always so full of life, you know the one that's 10 ft. tall and bulletproof. If anyone knows how he died I would really like to know. He was a great friend all through school. My sympathy to the Fernley family.
Tom Thulin

08/12/09 02:46 PM #2    

Barry Hansen

I was shocked and deeply touched when I heard of Greg’s death… Dan Brown was kind enough to inform me that he died about 10 years ago. He was a swimming coach at a high school in St. George, Utah. Apparently he was very well thought of in St George.
They have an annual swim meet named after him.

Greg Fernley, Mark Randle, Bruce Stevens and I formed a group ”The Subways” that played our songs on the steps of East High the first day of our sophomore year… I was honored years later to act as Greg’s best man when he was married back in the 70’s… so many years ago… so much water under the bridge… I have thought of him often… we had so many good times together… he will always be in my heart

03/12/10 03:24 PM #3    

Sean Fernley (Son Of Greg)

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself, and give thanks to the administrator for allowing me access to reply. My name is Sean Fernley, and I am the son of Greg Fernley. I found this site and read the comments, and it was very touching to read your comments about him.

Thomas, that's amazing that you remember my father from way back in elementary school.

Barry, I couldn't help but cry when I read your comment about "The Subways". My Dad told me about that often. He was really proud of it. He played the synthesizers, correct? He was really into his music, let me tell you. If you went into a record store with him, plan on being there for the better part of the day. We had a room dedicated to his records.

My father moved to St. George around 1984. My brother joined a swim team that's coach eventually stopped showing up. My father decided to start coaching in his absence and really made a name for himself. He started out coaching creating the club team (Dixie Aquatic Racing Team or DART) which received a strong following, and then started high school swimming programs for the 4 high schools in the region: Dixie, Pine View, Snow Canyon and Hurricane. If you ever visit St. George, check out the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center and have a memorial in his honor, and one of the largest swim meets dedicated to him each year (Greg Fernley Invitational). He was an integral part of the reason the Sand Hollow facility exists. He coached swimming from 1985 to 1999, and had a few swimmers go on to college and olympic trials. Two of his kids were both State Champions in individual events on several different occasions and won Most Valuable as well.

In September of 1999 my father passed away from a violent form of melanoma skin cancer. In 1998 he developed a lump on his eye. He saw a specialist who told him he had cancer and his eye was removed and replaced with a prosthetic. We were told they had removed it all, and that he would be fine. In July of '99 he complained that his neck was hurting. The cancer had spread to his neck, and then eventually to his liver and pancreas. My father passed away very quickly, within 2 months of them detecting it.

It was the hardest thing to see someone as healthy, and vibrant as my father become so ill, so quickly. He was the healthiest man I could ever know. He literally ran a marathon every week with his dog into the desert, and ate the healthiest food.

The year that he passed away, the Dixie High School boys swim team (which included me), won 3A State that year to honor his life. It was the first High School Team Championship in Southern Utah swimming history.

Thank you for being his friend, and sharing your memories.

03/15/10 07:37 AM #4    

Bob Rust


What a nice surprise. I lost touch with Greg about 37 years ago. Did not know he had children. I spent my freshman year at Dixie College. What a beautiful area.

In 1969 Greg and I hopped into my Datsun and headed for San Francisco. Once there we stayed a couple days in the apartment with Kathy Ralph. Then we accidently got in line to go over the Bay Bridge and could not get out of line. Once we paid the toll we decided rather than pay the toll back we would head to LA and visit my cousin Brad. Brad and Greg roomed for a year but I have not seen my cousin since I saw Greg and don't know whether it was in SLC or LA that they roomed.

Greg learned to race freestyle under Coach Tom Thorum. He was an awesome coach who transformed the East High Swim Team as soon as he was hired. I believe they took the state championship every year he was at East. As I recall, Greg and his team got as many points at the state tournament as all the other teams combined.

Once while boating in Utah Lake (I believe) our boat stopped and would not start. The shore was a very long way away but Greg was confident he could swim it because he swam miles every day during swim season. I insisted that he take a life preserver. After much discussion he humored me and took the preserver. When he got back to the boat he said shore was much farther than it appeared and he would not have made it.

Greg played keyboard and according to the year book was in the wind ensemble.

I was sorry to hear he passed away. He was a wonderful, kind, gentle person and as a result I suspect you too are special.

Thanks for the memory.

Bob Rust

03/20/10 07:09 AM #5    

Sean Fernley (Son Of Greg)

Bob - Thank you for sharing your memories of my Dad. The story about him swimming to shore was hilarious. That sounds like my Dad to the "T".

Also, I have posted some pictures on my profile of my father, our family together and his swim team. Many of his swimmers started young and stuck with swimming for him until they moved on to college. He was a magnetic person!

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