The friends and loved ones of the late Jeff Marfice will never be able to fill the immense void he left when he was killed in 2017.
He may be gone, but his kind spirit lives on through the Marfice Masters and the legacy those close to him have created in his memory.
“When Jeff died we all had a beer and were hanging out,” said Marfice’s best friend, Dustin Gannon. “We were talking about, ‘What can we do so we don’t forget about him?'”
The community was shocked when Marfice, 29, was punched during a confrontation in downtown Coeur d’Alene and died from injuries he sustained when he hit the ground.
Marfice worked as a Coeur d’Alene Resort caddie in the summers with Gannon and good friend Katy Battista, and as an accountant the rest of the year. He loved golf and, behind the scenes, he loved doing nice things for people without any recognition.
“He was buying bikes for kids, Christmas presents for kids, and he never let anyone know it,” Gannon said. “He was just a good dude. We just wanted to make sure we’re still doing that.”
In 2018, Marfice’s loved ones took those things he loved and created the Marfice Masters golf tournament to support Camp Journey, a Post Falls summer camp for kiddos experiencing cancer. In July 2022, the event had to-date brought in $204,800, not including the thousands of dollars donated through the years in the form of food, beverages, raffle items, coffee, swag and more.
“I feel good about it. It definitely makes it worth it when you see what you can do,” Gannon said.
He said he feels Marfice would have had a blast playing in the tournament, but he would want to give everyone else credit for all the good that has been done in his name.
“He would love to see what it turned into. It has turned into a reunion,” Gannon said. “We sold out in 11 hours last year, and I had a waitlist of 30 to 50 people immediately who wanted to play.”
Marfice’s family members who don’t even golf come every year too, Gannon said.
“He’d be excited because he loved Camp Journey and what they do out there,” Gannon said.
Battista agreed that Marfice would never take credit for the good deeds he did.
“He was so secret Santa about stuff,” she said. “I know he would be glad where the money’s going.”
She said even though Marfice’s modesty would be put to the test as the inspiration for everything that the Marfice Masters has become, “even he would be overwhelmed with the amount of money raised in his name over the last six years.”
She said when the Marfice Masters began, she had no idea it would grow to such magnitude.
“Every year you don’t think it could get better, then it does,” she said. “It blows your mind.”
Battista said Marfice really was an amazing person.
“He truly was a friend to everyone he met,” she said. “He may have seemed all fun and games on the surface, but he really was someone with a huge heart and an incredibly giving nature.”
As well as countless friends, Marfice left behind a loving family, including his daughter, Bailey.
His dad and stepmom, Doug and Jill Marfice, shared a joint statement with The Press.
“The loss of Jeff left a huge void in our lives,” they said. “Not a day goes by that we don’t think of him and miss him. Through the hard work and devotion of his friends though, one day each year that void and grief gives way to a celebration of some of the things Jeff loved the most — friends, family, a round of golf and most importantly, helping others.
“The Marfice Masters is a special day where Jeff’s friends, family and even just his acquaintances gather together and share memories, tell stories, laugh, and maybe shed a tear or two. What really makes it special, though is the fact that it’s raising tens of thousands of dollars for causes that Jeff supported — Camp Journey and Junior Golf. The level of commitment by the organizers, and the generosity of the sponsors, donors and participants is just awe inspiring. Jeff would be so proud to be associated with this.”
This year’s Marfice Masters will be July 8. Tickets go on sale May 4.
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