KC's Champion of Trees
If you fly over Kansas City or just find some high ground and look out over the city, one thing that strikes you is the green of trees that go on forever.
Few people deserve more credit for this sight than Chuck Brasher, who has spent the better part of his life championing the planting, tending and preservation of trees in greater Kansas City. If trees can be counted as part of the city's quality of life, Brasher's efforts are no less important than those of the architects and planners who gave the city its famed boulevards, fountains and other landmarks.
Brasher's mark can be seen in the oaks, maples and other varieties he himself has sunk into the ground. Residents followed in his footsteps in planting and nursing many more trees to towering heights.
While trees kept Brasher in steady work as the owner of Country Club Tree Service for well over 30 years, it's clear he has a special affection for everything from persimmons to pines.
"It's quite a thing to get to work with trees," he says quietly. "I probably will until the day I die."
That affection dates back to his childhood near Stockton. At just 15, three years shy of the qualifying age, he signed up with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It took a special letter from then Gov. Lloyd C. Stark to get him in. The one condition was that he had to attend school.
"When I wasn't in school, I'd go out with the crews working on reforestation and erosion control," Brasher recalls of his CCC days spent in the vicinity of Bowling Green. "We'd plant trees and put in terraces and diversion ditches."
It was his first real experience with trees, but even then something told him they would be his life's work.
After a stint in the Army during World War II took him to China and Burma, he moved to Kansas City. He took courses in horticulture and botany.
Kansas City's Forestry Department hired the young arborist, and he served three years as assistant city forester and one year as city forester. He pushed for better training of the forestry staff responsible for tending trees lining city streets and other areas.
Brasher went on to start his tree service in 1958 with his wife, Grace, as a partner. He was building a reputation as a knowledgeable arborist who kept up