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Council of Churches founder dies

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The Rev. Dorsey Levell, founder of Council of Churches of the Ozarks Inc., died Jan. 22. He was 86.

After serving as a pastor for 16 years, Levell in 1969 founded CCO, according to a news release.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of Dorsey’s passing. Our community is blessed to have had such an innovative leader who could envision an ecumenical ministry to serve the most vulnerable,” said Rick George, CCO’s interim executive director, in the release. “The legacy he began 50 years ago continues in our mission of service today.”

With co-author Wayne Groner, Levell in 2012 released a book, titled “Dumb Luck or Divine Guidance,” in which he accounts his career leading CCO.

A visitation is scheduled Jan. 27 at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home Inc., followed by a Jan. 28 service at Schweitzer United Methodist Church and interment at Missouri Veterans Cemetery, according to the release.

For CCO, it’s a period of change after the recent retirement of the Rev. Mark Struckhoff, who became executive director in 2010 after briefly serving as the interim leader of the nonprofit following the retirement of David Hockensmith. A search is underway for his successor, with Chief Operating Officer George serving in the interim.

CCO ranked No. 11 on Springfield Business Journal’s list of the area’s largest charitable nonprofits, with 59 employees. It also reported an operating budget of $6 million. Known for its Crosslines food pantry, CCO also provides shelter and clothing to people in need, among other services, according to its website.

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