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Springfield Mourns the Loss of Community Leaders, Three Children

The Springfield community is grieving the sudden loss of a family and two respected community leaders. A plane crash took the lives of John Lambert, his three children, and close family friend Robin Melton. As the week begins, those who knew them well are left to pick up the pieces. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has this report.

John Lambert was owner of Missouri Insulation and Supply Company. Those who worked with him considered him not only a boss, but also a friend. Lambert was also the chairman of the OTC Foundation Board of Directors. In a release from OTC, the college has postponed its steel signing ceremony on the new Table Rock campus out of respect for the family.

Britt Gardner is chief operating officer for the Missouri Insulation and Supply Company. He says Lambert was well loved and respected by everyone he came in contact with.

“Our family at Missouri Insulation and Supply are saddened by tremendous loss of our president and friend, John Lambert and his three children Grayson, McKinley and Joshua. John was a devoted family man and generous friend, which has been evident by the outpouring of love and support over the last few days. Our thoughts are with our dear friend John and his family,” says Gardner.

Gardner says funeral services for the family are still pending.

Lambert’s three children were among the crash victims. Grayson, who was 16, and McKinley, 15, were both students at Glendale High School. Joshua was 10 and a student at Sequiota Elementary.

Rhonda Mammen coordinates the counseling services for Springfield Public Schools. She says the school district’s crisis response team began working over the weekend to help students and staff members as they returned to school today.

“I was at Glendale and Sequiota, and we have had a large number of students. We began the day at Glendale. We had a different team of counselors supporting each school, so I was back and forth between the two. We had many students who chose to come down to one of our counseling centers to visit with one of our counselors,” Mammen says.

The City of Springfield issued a release saying it was saddened at the loss of Robin Melton, who was a very involved community member and served on numerous charitable boards.Melton was president and owner of Environmental Works, which worked along with the City to revitalize districts through a variety of joint projects.

Greg Burris is City Manager of Springfield, and says Melton will be deeply missed.

“When I asked her to consider being co-chair of the Strategic Planning Coordinating Committee she was hesitant, because she said she had never done anything like this before. I said that’s precisely why we are interested in having you do that. While she was very involved in the community, she wouldn’t be considered one of the ‘usual suspects.’ She was somebody who I think everybody respected, and her community service speaks for itself,” Burris says.

A staff member at Environmental Works says funeral plans for Melton are also still pending.

Keith Holloway, a spokesperson for the NTSB, told KSMU that the investigation into why the plane crashed is ongoing. Holloway says the NTSB anticipates having a preliminary report later this week or early next week. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.