On June 22, 2010, the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society held a dinner and unveiling ceremony for the last piece in the museum’s original plans: a diorama depicting the crossroads of Route 66 and Highway 5 in Lebanon, circa 1940. The diorama was begun in 2004 but not completed until Judy Wallmark, secretary-treasurer of the society, enlisted the skills of Willem Bor of The Netherlands to complete the project. Bor and his wife Monique personally delivered the scale model of the Nelson Hotel to Lebanon for the unveiling.

Five days following Mr. Bor's death on Jan. 18, 2017, at the age of 61, Judy delivered this tribute to him at the Route 66 Society's annual meeting:

"Last week the international Route 66 community, the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society, the Lebanon-Laclede County Library and its Route 66 museum lost a dear friend, Willem Bor of The Netherlands, who died of cancer last Wednesday at the age of 61:

"When we started planning the new Route 66 Museum back in 2003, we wanted a diorama showing the intersection of Route 66 and Highway 5 back in the day when it was the setting for such landmarks as the Nelson Hotel and Nelson’s Dream Village.

"Work on the diorama began in 2004. It finally was delivered to museum half-completed in late 2007 or so, and the builder simply disappeared.    

"Cathy Dame and Bill Wheeler, both of whom served as presidents of our Route 66 Society, searched high and low to find someone to complete the diorama, but to no avail. 

"Then in late 2009 or so I saw an email about a guy from the Netherlands looking for more pictures for a Route 66 scale model he was building. It was Willem Bor. I found out how to contact him, explained about the diorama, and spent the next six months or so corresponding back and forth and sending him everything she could find on the Nelson Hotel plus many pictures. 

"'What an honor!!' (with two exclamation points), Willem said on his website about being asked to complete the Lebanon diorama.

"Willem built the Nelson Hotel model, and he and Monique brought it to the States in June 2010. The Route 66 Society held a dinner for the unveiling, with the Bors in attendance, on June 22.  I met him in person for the first time during their visit, but we felt like life long friends by this time.

"The Bors returned to Lebanon probably in June 2014, bringing the three additional models that are at the museum. I asked for them for the museum, and he brought them. You will see them tonight when you tour the museum.

"Willem and Monique are truly great people.

"Let’s have a moment of silence in memory of Willem Bor."

(Note: The diorama is now part of the museum's Nelsonville display. Willem Bor’s last contribution to the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society arrived posthumously on April 12, 2017: a replica in miniature of John’s Modern Cabins, a Route 66 landmark near Newburg, Missouri. Ramona Lehman was present when the box from The Netherlands was opened. She posted on Facebook: “Willem is a true artist and his buildings will be displayed in our Route 66 Museum for a long time. Rest in peace Willem. You will be missed but your lovely little buildings will be here a long time for people to see and cherish.”)

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.