Ira "Jud" Davis Jr., the founder of a men's cancer awareness campaign in Central Kentucky called Beards for Buds, died Wednesday. He was 58.
Mr. Davis' fight against advanced cancer led him to realize that men with cancer weren't getting enough support, either through research or from the public.
Mr. Davis saw a beard-growing contest between Jim Cantore and Mike Bettes, two on-air personalities for The Weather Channel, and wanted to duplicate the idea.
The result was Beards for Buds (as in buddies).
Mr. Davis and his pastor, the Rev. Pete Jones of Pisgah Presbyterian Church, challenged the Rev. Woody Berry, pastor of Lexington's Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church. The goal was to see which congregation could raise the most money and grow the best beards in support of fighting men's cancers.
Beginning in January, as many as 40 men from the two churches spent seven weeks growing beards and encouraging people to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Then, on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21, 150 people gathered at a dinner to mark the contest's end and give out tongue-in-cheek awards.
Mr. Davis won the award for "The John Calvin Most Presbyterian Beard," the pastor said.
"He had a great time," said Jones.
Together, the two congregations raised more than $7,000, according to Jones.
"What's incredible is that even when his health was failing, he made a difference for other people," Jones said. "That's just the kind of person he was."
Mr. Davis, who had been general manager for Glenn Infiniti, a Lexington auto dealership, is survived by his wife, Lynn Davis.
Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home-Harrodsburg Road.
Services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Pisgah Presbyterian Church.
Contributions can be made to Beards for Buds. Checks should be made payable to Pisgah Presbyterian Church, 710 Pisgah Pike, Versailles, Ky. 40383.