BRANSON — Former Branson Mayor Lou Schaefer has died at the age of 80.
Family members say he died Tuesday after a long illness.
Schaefer's tenure spanned the largest growth period in the southwest Missouri resort town's history.
He was the first Branson mayor to be elected to six consecutive terms, serving from 1995 to 2007. During that time, the city saw $583 million in new construction and the opening of projects such as the Branson Landing, the Branson Convention Center and Branson Hills.
City spokesman Jerry Adams said Schaefer was known for his tireless efforts in promoting Branson as a tourist destination. During his time as mayor, the city limits grew from eight square miles in 1995 to 20 square miles in 2007.
Services will be held 10 a.m. Saturday at Faith Lutheran Church, 221 Malone St., in Branson.