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Longtime friends of the late John Q. Hammons offered fond memories Tuesday of the nationwide hotel developer and philanthropist. The memorial took place inside JQH Arena, one of several Springfield facilities he helped build. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.
“When Webster defined the term entrepreneur-developer, he must have been dreaming about John Q. Hammons,” Kamfjord said.
Erik Kamfjord says Hammons was his boss, business partner and best friend. Kamfjord is chairman of the board and CEO of the hotel management service Winegardner and Hammons, Inc. His friendship with Hammons, who died May 26th at the age of 94, spans 40 years. He calls Hammons a great American.
“A shining example of what is possible with hard work, a beautiful and generous heart, a wonderful sense of humor, and an extraordinary quest for success.”
Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens credited Hammons for changing the downtown landscape, recalling a once blighted area he used to ride his bike through as a teenager. Now, it’s equipped with two modern office buildings, a federal courthouse, two hotels, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, an Expo Center, and a minor league baseball park; with Hammons’ fingerprints on each one.
Hammons, who grew up in Fairview, Missouri, had the ingredients for business success, said former Drury University President Dr. John E. Moore, Jr. And while there are many people who’ve made this community strong, Moore said, it was Hammons’ far-sighted vision, bold entrepreneurship and generous philanthropy which have made him a giant in his impact on Springfield; his adopted hometown.
“From hotels, housing developments, condos, to health care, higher education, sports, public television and the arts, John Q. has shaped the face and substance of this community in elegant ways as no other person has ever done,” Dr. Moore said.
The ceremony also featured remarks by Chamber of Commerce President Jim Anderson, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame President Jerald Andrews, Springfield Cardinals General Manager Matt Gifford, and a performance by the Missouri State University Pride Band Ensemble.
Again referencing Webster’s Dictionary, the term “legacy” is defined as something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past. The word has been synonymous with the name John Q. Hammons for years. Tuesday’s memorial was another reflection of Hammons’ legacy, which will continue to live strong.
For KSMU news, I’m Scott Harvey.