Dan Cullimore was always willing to listen.
A fixture in Columbia, Mr. Cullimore understood the importance behind every voice and opinion in the community. He was always willing to discuss the day’s activities over Lakota Coffee in the mornings, friends said.
Mr. Cullimore died at home Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. He was 62.
Living in Columbia since 1965, Cullimore graduated from both Hickman High School and MU. He earned a journalism degree and proceeded to take graduate classes in clinical counseling to prepare him for his 10 years of work with abused children.
Mr. Cullimore was a leader in his local neighborhood, too.
A self-employed carpenter for many years, he used this experience to teach the carpentry curriculum at Job Point, teaching students to prepare them for the construction workforce. He also used his shop at Columbia Gadget Works as an open classroom for woodworking projects. He led the effort to remove historically significant architectural pieces from the James Apartment building in 2016 before its demolition.
Living on Lyon Street for 25 years, he was the secretary of the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association and the president for four years. In this time, he wrote grant applications, spoke before the Columbia City Council on behalf of the community and worked to protect local homes and businesses.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Cullimore’s work in the North Central Columbia neighborhood paid dividends. Resident Pat Fowler bought a house in the neighborhood in 2009, knowing the neighborhood was cohesive and had a noticeable community. In community projects, Mr. Cullimore would always make sure everybody had a task and would get a meaningful experience from it, Fowler said.
“He would always value immersing yourself in information,” Fowler said. “He thought about things thoroughly and deeply before suggesting action.”
Using his experience in local government, Mr. Cullimore was influential in developing the Columbia Community Land Trust, an organization that builds communities, stewards public resources and acts as a savings account for affordable housing.
“Dan advocated to structure it to have key stakeholders involved in the community as a whole,” Randy Cole, the housing programs supervisor for the city of Columbia, said. Mr. Cullimore made sure the local communities were fairly represented and needs were reflected.
Michael MacMann, a friend and political ally of Mr. Cullimore, said he will miss his morning coffees with him.
“Dan’s life serves as an exemplar of the value of listening, being fair and doing the right thing, taking everyone into account,” MacMann said.