What others are saying about Hammons

Eric Olson, SBJ EditorA few more stories about the life and business of John Q. Hammons have rolled into our newsroom.

The memories range from the intimate to the corporate, but all are essential to a deeper understanding to the character of the developer and philanthropist whose name is sprinkled on buildings, streets and programs primarily in Springfield but throughout the country. He was considered “The Classic Entrepreneur.”

Special coverage in our print edition, “Workers, friends share private memories,” offers a few additional stories from longtime colleagues. Saying goodbye to Hammons, however, hasn’t been easy for some; see “Private Hammons funeral surprises family, friends.”

The stories below help us to remember. Thanks to all for sharing.


—Debra Shantz Hart, owner of Housing Plus LLC

“Mr. Hammons hired me in 1994 to be a ‘nitpicker’ – his description of a lawyer. The day that I came to the office to visit about the job of general counsel, I sat next to Mr. Hammons at his conference table patiently waiting to visit with him while he took seven or eight calls (all on the speaker phone). In each call, Mr. Hammons told the caller that the day was special because it was his birthday. Mr. Hammons told three different callers that he was a different age, 72, 73, 74. I didn’t know what to think. After he finished his calls, we had a nice chat and I agreed to come to work for him.

Mr. Hammons hired me in 1994 to be a ‘nitpicker’ – his description of a lawyer.

I walked out of his office and stopped to visit with Jan Robbins, who asked how it went. I told Jan that it was fine but it was a little unusual that JQH had told three different people he was three different ages. She asked what he said and I told her. She said, ‘Oh, that’s OK. He really is 75 and his name isn’t John.’ That’s how my 13 years with JQH started. I spent many hours in that same chair during the years talking about all kinds of deals. I also spent many hours just visiting with Mr. Hammons. Needless to say, my time with JQH was never dull.

Mr. Hammons told me many times, ‘you really learned a lot’ and I did. He was a good friend and mentor and I am forever grateful that I had the opportunity to work with him.”



—Galen Pellham, a real estate agent at Murney Associates

“As a young architect, I was introduced to Mr. Hammons in the back room of his nondescript office on South Glenstone. He and Lloyd Kipp were knee deep in fabrics being selected for one of his Holiday Inns. Shaking my hand and looking me over, he asked, ‘Are you any good?’

I attempted to somehow respond positively, and he asked me to submit a design for his proposed fountain at SMS. He later announced to then President Duane Meyer that he was hiring me as his architect for the fountain. Larry Phillips, an engineer, joined me as the Hammons Fountain became the first of many Hammons’ projects designed by Pellham Phillips, Architects & Engineers. During the design process of the fountain, Mr. Hammons would often call while standing in the middle of a fountain somewhere measuring the diameter of that fountain’s nozzles and estimating spray heights in order to determine his preferences for his fountain. Yes, he was an amazing visionary, but a real stickler for detail!

John Q. Hammons referred to the Chateau on the Lake as ‘the daughter he never had.’

From this fountain flowed an exhilarating, long-standing relationship, that propelled Pellham-Phillips into the forefront designing several Hammons’ projects across the country – one which he referred to as ‘the daughter he never had,’ the Chateau on the Lake.

Mr. Hammons was truly a remarkable man and friend.”



—Scott Giffen, executive vice president of the Springfield Arts Collaborative at The Creamery Arts Center

“Even though I never met Mr. Hammons in person, his wonderful legacy through his business stewards lives on. The Legacy page from our project brochure thanks Mr. Hammons for his generosity and leadership. Jacquie Dowdy serves on our Leadership Committee, is committed to continue Mr. Hammon’s legacy, and has been a wonderful support to our initiative as we strive to make Springfield a better place.

Jacquie Dowdy serves on our Leadership Committee, is committed to continue Mr. Hammon’s legacy, and has been a wonderful support to our initiative

In addition to his support of the Springfield Arts Collaborative, Mr. and Mrs. Hammons have a long legacy of supporting the arts from the Hammons Salute to the Arts event that began in the 1980s to the name-in-title support of the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. We are truly grateful for their leadership.”



—Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour

“The PGA Tour was very saddened to learn of the death of John Q. Hammons. Mr. Hammons was not only a distinguished businessman, he was a great human being who was deeply committed to helping others. His philanthropic efforts are many and included the PGA Tour. The Price Cutter Charity Championship in his hometown of Springfield has been on the Web.com Tour schedule since its inception in 1990 and has become one of golf’s most productive charitable events. Mr. Hammons also was involved in establishing the Web.com Tour’s Greenville, S.C., tournament in 1992, another event that has built a strong charitable tradition. In 1999, the PGA Tour asked him to support the continuation of the Champions Tour event in Kansas City, which he did, leading to four additional years there. The Hammons’ organization played a vital role in making the World Golf Village a reality with its commitment in the mid 1990s to the development of the property’s flagship Renaissance Hotel and belief in the World Golf Foundation’s mission there. We have all lost a great man and he will certainly be missed.”



—Bill DeWitt III, president of the St. Louis Cardinals

“Mr. Hammons was a passionate advocate for bringing baseball to Springfield and a great friend of the Cardinals. The Cardinals organization extends its condolences to John’s family, his many friends and the entire Springfield community.”

1 Response to “What others are saying about Hammons”

  1. 1 Dr.Paul Collins June 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I met Mr. Hammons on two occasions in the restaurant in the University Plaza. The last time I talked with him, he gently stated that there would be a baseball stadium and that the St,. Louis Cardinals would play in Springfield. I really liked John Q.Hammons,

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