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Longtime Columbia developer dies

Monday, March 17, 2008 | 10:53 p.m. CDT; updated 9:20 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Robert "Bob" LeMone was seen by friends as a mentor to many and always willing to help others.

COLUMBIA — Even if he had driven home from a Cardinals game at 2 a.m., it was no problem for Robert Meyer “Bob” LeMone to get to work by 6 a.m. the following day. He was known to play just as hard as he worked, his son, Mac LeMone, said.

“One thing about Bob, you’re going to hear a lot of stories,” a long-time neighbor said.

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Mr. LeMone died Monday in his home, surrounded by family. He was 65.

Friends cited his legendary work ethic and support as what Columbia will remember him by, but those close to Mr. LeMone said it was his character that truly set him apart.

“Bob was a mentor to many,” said John States, Mr. LeMone’s colleague and friend at Little Dixie Construction Company. “He talked in a way where people would listen and learn.”

States first met Mr. LeMone as a student in Columbia and had worked with him ever since.

Mr. LeMone’s career in construction is what led him to become a major developer in Columbia. The construction company that he worked for, and later co-owned, built many projects, including MBS Textbook Exchange, Home Depot, Columbia Regional Airport, Perry Chevrolet and the recent reconstruction of the Heidelberg restaurant.

The successful contracting business never dampened Mr. LeMone’s humble persona, his family said. His daughter, Sara Emily LeMone, recounted Mr. LeMone’s trademark graciousness. Sara Emily LeMone said her father always stressed that the important things in life aren’t material but rather the people one surrounds him or herself with.

“He has always defined himself by his friends,” she said.

Mac LeMone said his father’s large stance was pretty intimidating to many of his friends, but once in conversation, they would agree that Mr. LeMone was the most caring person one could ever meet.

Born Oct. 9, 1942, in Columbia, Mr. LeMone attended Columbia Public Schools and later played football at MU. This laid the foundation for his support for MU athletics.

His former neighbor of 29 years, Weldon Jones, said that, in the 1980s, Mr. LeMone bought 100 football tickets to give to students to attend a game and support Tiger football.

Mr. LeMone’s other passions included hunting and fishing, according to his family.

“He loved the social life,” Mac LeMone said about his father’s fondness of Columbia activities. “He couldn’t miss any of the events that happen throughout downtown.”

Mr. LeMone was always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need. States said as recently as last week, Mr. LeMone was planning to donate three acres of land in the Concord South Industrial Park to build a police training facility for the Columbia Police Department.

“Right out of the blue, Bob donated all the brick for the brand new project,” States said. “Just to make it look as nice as possible.”

Mr. LeMone is survived by his wife, Sara; a son, Mac LeMone of Columbia; three daughters, Sara Emily LeMone, Tracy Thompson and Tricia Rackers, all of Columbia; one sister, Peggy LeMone-Gilman of Boulder, Colo.; one brother, Charlie LeMone of Roanoke, Va.; three grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

One brother, Jacque Fredrick LeMone, died earlier.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Woodcrest Chapel, 2201 W. Nifong Blvd. Burial will be private.

The family requests that memorials be given to the Robert M. LeMone Charitable Trust, care of Boone County National Bank.


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