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Missourian Award founder dies

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Last edited 12:24 p.m., Sept. 26, 2019

Ralph Slavens, a former real estate broker who founded the Missourian Award, died Tuesday. He was 87, according to his obituary posted to Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home Inc.’s website.

With his wife Corrine, who preceded him in death, Slavens created the Missourian Award in 1994 to honor individuals who have made a lasting impact on the Show-Me State. This year’s class, including Integrity Home Care Inc. CEO Greg Horton and defense attorney Dee Wampler, were honored Sept. 14, joining past recipients that include John Q. Hammons, Walt Disney and Harry S. Truman.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to carry on Mr. Slavens’ original vision and the legacy he and the board of directors worked tirelessly to build over the last 26 years, said Brooke Bigham, board chair of the Missourian Award, in a statement. “I, along with our current board, will continue to honor him by pressing forward with the search for well-deserving and accomplished citizens throughout our great state.”

Bigham said 274 Missourian Award recipients have been honored to date.

Slavens also worked for Hammons, the hotelier and philanthropist who died in 2013. Slavens had been a lobbyist for Hammons for 15 years, according to Springfield Business Journal archives. In 2004, Slavens also created the Silent Hero Award to recognize people behind the scenes making a difference in the community.

A celebration of life for Slavens is scheduled Sept. 30 at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home, 1947 E. Seminole St., according to his obituary.

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