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A dedication ceremony for a Busch Municipal Building conference room named after Denny Whayne, left, is held in December 2018.
Provided by city of Springfield
A dedication ceremony for a Busch Municipal Building conference room named after Denny Whayne, left, is held in December 2018.

Former City Council member dies at 77

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Former Springfield City Council member Denny Whayne died June 5. He was 77.

The first Black person elected to the city's governing body, Whayne served as Zone 1 representative 2001-2009, according to a news release. He was a member of the Finance, Plans and Policies, Administration and Public Involvement committees.

“Springfield has lost an icon who worked tirelessly to bring communities of people together," Mayor Ken McClure said in the release.

An employee in the city's Finance Department 1975-85, Whayne served as president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP 1980-88. He joined the NAACP when he was 11 years old, and he participated in the Freedom Rides of 1961 and civil rights movement in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the late 1960s.

In 2018, council passed a resolution honoring his work with the body and city, as well as his commitment to justice and equal rights, according to the release. The Busch Municipal Building’s fourth-floor conference room was dedicated as the Councilman Denny Whayne Conference Room.

"Being on City Council was one of the best experiences of my entire life. My mindset on council was to try to move the city of Springfield forward," Whayne said in a 2018 interview, according to the release.

Whayne's career experience also included work as a sales and leasing consultant with Thompson Pontiac-GMC-Cadillac, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

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