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John Hammons, Hotel Developer and Philanthropist, Dies at Age 94

John Q. Hammons
A file photo from 2009 shows John Q. Hammons. Hammons, a prominent hotel developer and philanthropist, died Sunday, May 26, 2013 at a nursing home in Springfield, Missouri. He was 94-years-old. Source: John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts/AP Photo

John Q. Hammons, who developed 210 hotel properties in 40 states during a 52-year career, died in Springfield, Missouri. He was 94.

Hammons created John Q. Hammons Hotels in 1969 and became the largest private, independent upscale-hotel manager in the U.S., working with brands including Marriott, Renaissance and Embassy Suites, the company said yesterday in a statement. Today the company operates 78 hotels in 24 states.

“Hammons was a giant in the hospitality industry and was unwavering in his commitment to exceptional quality and service and to giving back to the community,” Jacqueline Dowdy, chief executive officer of John Q Hammons Hotels & Resorts, said in the statement. “He was a great mentor and friend and will be missed by all who came to know him.”

Hammons, whose proper name is James, is survived by his wife Juanita Hammons.

Hammons started in the hotel industry in 1958 and, with Roy Winegardner, purchased 10 Holiday Inn franchises, according to the statement. In the past 50 years, Hammons donated to Springfield and other organizations, including funding of the Hammons Heart Institute and Hammons Life Line helicopter for St. John’s Regional Health Center in Springfield.

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