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Former SBA leader in Springfield dies at 81

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Walter Cowart, a longtime U.S. Small Business Administration employee who helped open its Springfield branch, has died. He was 81.

Cowart died June 3, according to his obituary posted to GormanScharpf.com. His cause of death was not disclosed.

Cowart led the Springfield branch of the SBA from 2008 until his retirement in 2011, and he held the role in an interim capacity on multiple occasions, according to past reporting. He transferred to Springfield to help open the local branch in 1981 and was named Region VII’s Employee of the Year in 1997.

“In southwest Missouri, the attitude of the small-business population is, ‘If you’ll just give me a little help, I’ll get it done,’ and that has been true for the 30 years I’ve been down here," Cowart told Springfield Business Journal in 2011, just ahead of his retirement.

Cowart's obituary indicates he had a love of the arts, and he was involved with organizations such as the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Springfield Contemporary Theatre.

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