In Remembrance

Marian Fields, SRA, MAI, AI-GRS

Marian Fields, 67 of Independence, Missouri, died April 7, 2019 at St. Luke's East Hospital in Lee's Summit, Missouri, surrounded by many family members.

She died of a very rare cancer, which she fought well for two years, making numerous trips to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, and undergoing some drastic surgeries.

Marian was born on July 24, 1951 in Coffeyville, KS, to Joe Q. and Betty A. (Miller) Fields. She came 12 minutes ahead of her twin sister, Mary Jane. Marian grew up in different cities in Kansas and Missouri, attending both Catholic and Public schools. She graduated from Ruskin High School, Hickman Mills, MO in 1969. After high school, she worked several years at the O'Flaherty Real Estate firm. She was an active member in several Civic and Professional groups. She was one of the youngest women to become President of the Women's Chamber of Commerce in 1984. In 1979, she received her SRA designation, becoming the only woman who was a designated appraiser in the Kansas City area. She went on to become the first female president of the Society of Real Estate Appraisers, and after the SREA merged with the other professional Real Estate Appraisal organization, to form the Appraisal Institute, Marian became the only appraiser who served as president for both organizations. Marian was also an active member and President of the Commercial Real Estate Women's organization (CREW).

In 1993, Marian received a bachelor's degree from Park University, graduating with honors. Marian went on to become one of the few women who held a designation as a Commercial Appraiser. In 2004, she received an award to recognize her contributions to the real estate industry in general, and to the appraisal profession. Marian finished her career working as an appraiser for the GSA. She started there in 2009, and she had very much enjoyed the job and the people with whom she worked. Marian belonged to several organizations, but most enjoyed volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and she served on the Board of Directors, as well as being President of the Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity organization. In addition to that organization, Marian also enjoyed working as a volunteer for Special Olympics. She was a recipient of the Volunteer of Distinction Award given by the Appraisal Institute to recognize members who made a significant contribution to the community through volunteer work.

Marian never married or had children, but she was very close to her family, and she is survived by her twin sister, Mary Jane, five brothers, Gregory, Hal (Iris), Joe (Carrie), Mike and Chris (George). She cherishes the relationship she has with her eight nieces and nephews and her 15 great-nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Joe Q. Fields (2001) and Betty A. Fields (1992).

A funeral service will be held at St. Mark's Catholic Church at 3736 S. Lee's Summit Road, Independence at 11 a.m. The Visitation will also be at St. Mark's Catholic Church at 9:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider gifts to either Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity, or St. Marks, Catholic Church.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Arrangements: Speaks Chapel 816-373-3600


Merle Weisenborn, MAI, SRA

Merle was born on September 8, 1935 and passed away on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Merle was a resident of Missouri at the time of passing. Subsequently, Merle earned an MBA degree at Arizona State University, Tempe. While living in Arizona, he completed his U.S. Army reserve obligation, retiring as a captain in the artillery division. Visitation will be begin at 10:00 a.m. April 6, 2019 at the Gashland Presbyterian Church, 8029 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, MO 64118, with the funeral service commencing at 11:00 a.m. A graveside service and burial will be held 2:00 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Joseph, MO. Memorial contributions are suggested to St. Luke's Hospice House or the Rotary Foundation. 

Alwyn “A.J.” Cato, MAI

Alwyn Jerrold “A.J.” Cato passed away on June 28, 2017.  Prior to being an appraiser, A.J. graduated from the Institute of Mortuary Science and served in the Navy during World War II in the South Pacific Theater.  Upon his return to Kansas City, A.J. worked in real estate sales and appraisals for Cato & Associates (later known as A.J. Cato Company). He was a member of the Appraisal Institute and attained the MAI designation.  He served on numerous regional professional boards.  He enjoyed genealogy and traveling in his fifth wheel during retirement.  In addition to appraising he was a pastor for nine years.  A.J. is survived by many loved ones, including his son Jerry Cato, MAI who is also an appraiser and currently works at UMB.  Donations may be made to Crossroads Hospice (

Curtis Bliss, SREA, ASA

Curtis Bliss passed away on March 8, 2017.  Prior to being an appraiser, Curt was a pilot in the Navy during World War II and for PanAm following the war.  Upon his return to Kansas City, he joined his father in the appraisal business.  Following in his father’s footsteps, one of the first in the Kansas City Chapter to obtain the MAI designation, Curt obtained the SREA and ASA designations.  He was also a past president of the Kansas City Real Estate Board.  In addition to appraising he was active in real estate development.  He also volunteered with Bloch Cancer Hotline and Pets for Life.  Donations may be made to Resources for Human Development (, please designate the RHD Kansas City office) and Pets for Life (

Steven Wise, MAI

Steven Wise, MAI passed away on Tuesday, February 14, 2017.  Steve owned and operated the real estate appraisal firm of Cannon, Blaylock & Wise in Columbia.  In addition to being an appraiser, he wrote/published several books and enjoyed baseball, shooting, golf and his six grandkids.  He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and the appraisal profession.  Memorial donations may be made to Coyote Hills Children's Home or Rainbow House Children's Home c/o Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 West; Columbia, MO 65202.

Fletcher Simmons, MAI

Fletcher Simmons, MAI passed away on Friday, November 4, 2016.  He was the founder and President/Owner of the Simmons Company in Manhattan, Kansas.  He was an active member of the Appraisal Institute who attended Kansas City Chapter meetings and classes.  In 1991, he was the President of the Greater Kansas Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.  Memorial donations may be made to the University of Kansas Medical Center c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory; Ottawa, Kansas 66067.