Hotel developer and philanthropist John. Q. Hammons has died at the age of 94.
According to a statement released by Hammons' company, he died "peacefully" at his home in Springfield, Missouri on Sunday.
Hammons grew up in Fairview, Missouri and attended Missouri State University before becoming a middle school teacher in 1939. During World War II, Hammons served in the Merchant Marines. Following the war, Hammons began building houses in Springfield.
In 1958, Hammons began his famed career in the hotel industry, investing in ten Holiday Inns with Roy E. Winegardner. He and Winegardner started the Winegardner & Hammons Incorporated development company, which built dozens of hotels in the 60s.
In 1969, Hammons struck out on his own, founding the John Q Hammons Hotels company. The company now operates 78 hotels in 24 states.
In addition to his hotels, Hammons was known for his philanthropic efforts. He and his wife, Juanita, founded many projects throughout Missouri, including the Hammons Heart Institute at Springfield's St. John's Regional Health Center, a performing arts center at Missouri State University, and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
“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,” said Jacqueline Dowdy, CEO of John Q Hammons Hotels & Resorts. “He was a great mentor and friend and will be missed by all who came to know him, but his legacy will live on forever.”