Board member - Bill Jones
Bill practically grew up on Route 66. His grandpa, Harry “Shorty” Jones, opened a Shell station in the late 1920s on the south side of Route 66 in Lebanon, just east of where Laclede Electric Cooperative is today. Harry died in 1946, and Bill’s dad, Bill Sr., took over the station, operating it until 1956 when it was torn down for the construction of Interstate 44. Bill Jr. can pinpoint the station’s exact location, because Route 66 now curves left at that spot. The family still owned land across Interstate 44, so Bill Sr. opened Bill’s Garage there. Bill Jr. later ran the garage for 10 years before retiring. Bill served as president of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society from 2016 to 2020. He’s pictured with the 1947 GM Flexible Bus he bought in 2016. While Bill owned the bus, it played a prominent role in Route 66 Society events.
Board member - Gary Sosniecki
Gary was the first vice president of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society in 2002-03 when he and wife Helen were publishers of The Lebanon Daily Record. They retired back to Lebanon in 2016, and Gary served again as vice president for three years. He currently is a board member and webmaster. Gary worked full time in the newspaper industry from 1973 to 2016, including owning three weekly newspapers. In retirement, he wrote a column for The Daily Record for two years. A native of the Chicago area, Gary’s interest in Route 66 began in 1969 on his first trip to Missouri for college. While living in Lebanon previously, he helped plan the first two Route 66 festivals, edited two newspaper special sections devoted to Route 66 and edited a hardcover book, “Route 66: Laclede County Memories, 1926-1957.”
Secretary - Cathy Dame
Cathy, who previously served as president of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society for 12 years, returned to the board as secretary in 2018. She is director of the Lebanon-Laclede County Library, home of the Route 66 Museum.
Vice President - Leland Townsend
“I was born and raised here in Laclede County, have always lived in Laclede County, and most likely will continue to live here. As I have reached retirement age I see several of my former friends returning here to retire also, so it must be a good place to live. I have always been interested in classic cars and trucks along with Laclede County history and Route 66 history. I believe preserving and celebrating Route 66 will grow in the following decades, and that Lebanon and Laclede County will be one of the better focal points of that growth. I am also very grateful to all the people that have worked and will continue to strive to make this a very positive part of our community.” Leland was elected vice president of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society in 2020.
Treasurer - Cliff Claxton
"My fascination with Route 66 started with my father, who worked for two local oil companies, Ivey Oil Company in the ’40s and ’50s, and Home Oil Company in the ’60s, driving an over-the-road gasoline transport. Occasionally he would allow me to travel with him, stopping at diners and gas stations along the way. Dad was an excellent storyteller, and he would share all the adventures of his trips along Route 66, some a bit gory. In 1968 I went to work for McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis traveling much of the old highway myself, especially the eastbound portion which was the last portion to be moved from the former Route 66 to the new interstate system. I still drive Route 66 when I have time to spare. Lebanon and Laclede County residents are truly blessed to have Route 66 pass though our county, town and lives. It has had an incredible impact on the local economy and our lifestyles. As a result of past and current efforts associated with Route 66, the potential is there of having a substantial resurgence of tourism and positive impact on our economy in the very near future. I am very proud to be part of this organization and their efforts.”
Board Member - Ramona Lehman
Ramona is Lebanon’s unofficial “Mrs. Route 66” thanks to her dedication to the famed highway and to the iconic Munger Moss Motel, which she and husband Bob have owned since June 1, 1971. Ramona has been active in the Route 66 Association of Missouri and was the first secretary-treasurer of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society when it was founded in 2002. The lobby of the Munger Moss is a shrine to Route 66. A Missouri Department of Transportation brochure says: “Ramona and Bob Lehman have become internationally famous for their hospitality to travelers along the Main Street of America. Tour groups from as far as Canada, Norway and the Czech Republic make the Munger Moss a regular stop on their trips. In 2006, Ramona and Bob were presented with the Route 66 Preservation Foundation Business of the Year Award.”
President - Bruce Owen
“I was born and raised in Laclede County and still run my business in Lebanon. I am proud to be the great-nephew of W.H. Owen and the great-grandson of Arthur Nelson. Both had key roles in bringing Route 66 to the route from Rolla to Springfield through Laclede County. Arthur and his son Frank were prominent businessmen on Route 66 and also donated land for Route 66 and to the community. Route 66 is an asset for Lebanon that can’t be denied. I hope people from all around the world continue to travel and enjoy the Mother Road from now on.” Bruce was elected president of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society in 2020.
Board Member - John Stowe
John was elected to the Route 66 Society board in 2018.
Board Member - Chuck Jordan
“Both my wife, Ellen, and I were born and raised along the Route in Lebanon, Missouri. My father was a mechanic for a Dodge dealership in Colorado and then Buick here in Lebanon. I have been hip-deep in cars from about 5 years of age, but my Route 66 involvement came later as I began to go to Waynesville, Missouri, to race slot cars. I-44 East then was Route 66. After we returned from 12 years USAF service, I worked at Fort Leonard Wood and drove Route 66 very often. The last four years before I retired, I drove the old road every day coming home. This gave me time to slow down, clear my head and shift gears from work to home. Ellen and I have driven Route 66 from the Fountain in Chicago to the Pier in Los Angeles and enjoyed the personal interaction with other travelers as much as we did the scenery and the travel. Our local Route 66 group is very active and provides good friends with common interests. We are also Cave State Cruisers members.”
Board Member - Bobby Jones
Bobby has been in business for 40 years on Route 66 in Lebanon. Originally, he called his shop Precision Engine, but he changed the name to Route 66 Speed Shop when the Route 66 revival picked up steam. “It’s basically the same business,” he says. Like many Route 66 Society board members, Bobby is a car collector. His pride and joy is a rare 1965 Chevelle station wagon race car. “There’s only 400 in existence,” Bobby says. He’s also restoring a 1965 Plymouth 426 4-speed. “It’s one that sat on the showroom floor.”
Board Member - Nicole McGinnis
Nicole McGinnis was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in July 2018. Nicole is the Director of Tourism for the City of Lebanon promoting travel and tourism for the entire Laclede County area. Nicole started her career in tourism in 2008 at the Resort at Port Arrowhead as a Group Sales Manager. From there she expanded her skill set with positions that ranged from Convention Services Manager to Director of Sales at various resorts located around the Lake of the Ozarks area. In 2013, Nicole took a position with the Tri-County Lodging Association/Lake of the Ozarks CVB as Group Sales Manager. It was there that she discovered her true passion for the travel industry. Nicole’s combined work experience in the hotel industry as well as the on the destination marketing side gives her a unique perspective of the travel and tourism industry. Nicole accepted her position with the City of Lebanon in 2017 and soon after was appointed the position of Board Member for Missouri Travel Council representing the Central Region. Along with her passion for the tourism industry, Nicole’s other joys are spending time with her three teenagers, antiquing and of course, travel!
EX-OFFICIO BOARD MEMBERS
Elliot Wilburn, assistant director of parks, City of Lebanon
Loretta Young, chairman, Lebanon Route 66 Festival Committee
Darrell Pollock, executive director, Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce
Mark Spangler, curator, Route 66 Museun, Lebanon-Laclede County Library