John Q. Hammons passed away on Sunday at the age of 94. The respected hotel developer and businessman spent 52 years in the lodging industry and developed 201 hotel properties in the course of his career.
Hammons grew up in Fairview, Mo., during the Great Depression and began his professional career as a junior high school teacher and basketball coach in Cassville, Mo. He enlisted in the U.S. military, and following his service career, Hammons entered into the real estate business by building housing tracts, apartment complexes, and shopping centers. His hospitality career began in 1958, when Hammons joined forces with Roy E. Winegardner to purchase their first ten Holiday Inn franchises from founder Kemmons Wilson. The pair formed Winegardner and Hammons Incorporated, a hotel development company, in 1961.
In 1969, Hammons launched John Q. Hammons Hotels and built the company into a large, privately owned hotel development firm. Today the company operates 78 hotels across 24 states and employs more than 8,500 associates.
“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 and 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.”
Hammons development portfolio features hotel brands including Embassy Suites, Marriott, Renaissance, Holiday Inn, as well as a number of independent properties.