John Hammons, a hotel developer and Missouri philanthropist, has died in his home state at the age of 94.
Hammons died on Sunday evening at the Elfindale Manor nursing home in Springfield, Missouri, according to a statement that was released on the John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts website.
Hammons company consisted of 78 hotels, and he was the largest private, independent owner and manager of upmarket hotels in the United States of America. Included in Hammons portfolio were Embassy Suites, Marriott, and IHG.
John Hammons grew up in Fairview, Missouri, during the height of the Great Depression, and after earning a degree from Southwest Missouri State Teachers College, he became a junior high school teacher and basketball coach.
His career didn’t start off in the most positive manner though, and his first business went bankrupt in the 1940s after he had served a stint in the army during World War Two. Hammons then looked to purchase to purchase 10 Holiday Inn franchises in 1958 after he had rebuilt his wealth via subdivisions in southwest Missouri.
Hammons always looked to build hotels in state capitals and college towns rather than big cities, whilst he also purchased a variety of convention centers and golf courses to increase his properties.
However, he also looked to help others less fortunate than himself, and he donated millions to public television, colleges, and hospitals too.
Hammons went on to create Springfields’ Hammons Heart Institute and the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University.
The entrepreneur decided to use the name John Q. rather than his original birth name of James, whenever he introduced himself to politicians and organizations so that they knew he was representing the general public. Because of this the name stuck and he became known as John Q. Hammons.
Hammons is survived by wife of 64 years, Juanita.
[Image via Marshall Astor/Shutterstock]