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Former Springfield mayor dies at 92

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Former Springfield Councilman and Mayor Paul Redfearn died Nov. 26. He was 92, according to his obituary posted at SpeaksChapel.com.

Redfearn served as the city’s southeast Zone 4 councilman 1973-77 and as mayor 1979-81. His council colleagues selected him for the mayor’s seat, according to a news release issued yesterday by the city of Springfield.

“We are grateful for his exemplary service to our community,” Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said in the release. “Our community relies upon, and functions best, when we have dedicated individuals, such as Mr. Redfearn, to provide volunteer leadership. His contributions to our community will live on.”

Redfearn was mayor during a time of city growth, according to Springfield Business Journal archives. The city’s total square mileage was 66 in 1980, when the city began annexing more land; it’s now 82.3 square miles, according to census data. The city also reached 100,000 residents just before 1980, according to SBJ archives.

Like Springfield’s current mayor, Redfearn had a Missouri State University background, having retired after 31 years as professor emeritus of biology, specifically with a focus on botany, according to his obituary. McClure, who was elected mayor in 2017, retired from MSU in 2015 as vice president for administrative and information services.

Redfearn’s obituary suggests donations to the MSU Foundation in lieu of flowers. He was honored with faculty achievement and alumni appreciation awards by MSU, according to the obituary. He also was a former member and president of the MSU Board of Governors.

Redfearn authored or co-authored more than 96 publications, including two books, during his career that focused on the study of mosses and liverworts.

Memorial services are scheduled Dec. 6 at Christ United Methodist Church in Independence.

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