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SHAWNEE, Kan. — Founder of Hayward’s Pit BBQ, Hayward Spears Sr., died on October 2 at the age of 88.

The “Pit Crew” made the announcement on social media while inviting family, friends and barbecue lovers to a public visitation:

  • Friday, October 14 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Thatcher’s Funeral Home – 15220 North 5th Street, Kansas City, Kansas
  • Saturday, October 15 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Metropolitan Baptist Temple – 853 Washington Boulevard, Kansas City, Kansas

Saturday’s visitation will be followed by a religious service at the Metropolitan Baptist Church at 11 a.m.

A celebration of Spears’ life will be held at Hayward’s Pit BBQ in Shawnee on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Born in Hope, Arkansas, in 1934, Spears grew watch watching and learning from his father as he barbecued.

Spears founded Hayward’s Pit in 1972 and began winning several awards from that moment forward.

He held several board positions throughout his life including for the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, the Overland Park Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, and served on the foundation board for Johnson County Community College.

Spears is survived by his wife, daughter, two sons, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

His family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Generating Income For Tomorrow (G.I.F.T.) in Spears’ honor.