Ray Beck, Jane Froman and KFRU Radio!
The Endowment Trust Board of the Boone County Historical Society is pleased to announce this year’s inductees into the Boone County Hall of Fame. Candidates for enshrinement must have demonstrated a contribution to the development, growth and preservation of Boone County and, further, demonstrated significant personal achievement that brought distinction to themselves and to Boone County through state or national recognition.
The 2015 corporate honoree this year is KFRU Radio, the oldest radio station in central Missouri. The station which began broadcasting on October 7, 1925 from the Stephens College campus is celebrating its 90th birthday this year. KFRU has been a great promoter of Boone County history with its weekly Heritage Series. A household name throughout the county for 90 years, KFRU has brought generations of listeners news and information, from early FDR fireside chats to news of the ever-changing technology revolution of the last 20 years. Through its several relationships and partnerships over the years that have included The Star-Times newspaper in St. Louis, KMOX radio in St. Louis, the ABC Network, the University of Missouri and the Columbia Daily Tribune, KFRU has always delivered crucial local news to the County populous as well as years of Missouri Tiger sports and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Today, KFRU Radio is owned by Cumulus Media and broadcasts news, talk and sports through its well-known 1400 AM frequency and online internet streaming. The station that hundreds of thousands of Boone Countians grew up with also has a long history of supporting the community through sponsorships and philanthropy.
Posthumous recognition in 2015 goes to Columbia’s Jane Froman, a hugely popular singer and star of stage, radio and television from the 1930s to the 1950s. Jane moved to Columbia at age 12 and after graduating from Columbia High School in 1924 she attended Columbia College (then Christian College). After a long and very successful career, she returned to Columbia for her retirement. Although Froman died in 1980 her name is well remembered as a top female singer for decades on the radio. She was named “top girl singer” in a national poll in 1934. The famous composer and producer Billy Rose, when asked to name the top ten female singers, is reported to have replied, “Jane Froman and nine others.” Early in her career she was one of just a few on board to survive a plane crash in Portugal. The plane was full of USO performers headed to entertain U.S. troops in Europe. Even though she nearly lost both legs due to the crash, she would recuperate and eventually resume her singing career. The 1952 film With a Song in My Heart starring Susan Heyward is based on her life. After her death, many of Jane Froman’s personal collections were given to Columbia College and the Boone County Historical Society. Several local fans are still active members of the Jane Froman Fan Club today.
This year’s living recipient is former City Manager of Columbia, Ray Beck. Ray served the City of Columbia for 45 years in total and is also a past president of the Boone County Historical Society. Ray is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduation he served his country as an officer in the US. Army and is a graduate of the US. Army Field Artillery School as well as the US. Army Command and General Staff College.
The city that we know today as one of a few communities in America to be consistently ranked one of the most desirable places to live is a city whose progress, growth and success can be attributed to a short list of individuals and institutions. Ray Beck’s name is high on that list. During his tenure, Columbia established a city-operated waste removal program, expanded the local parks and recreation services, and implemented a municipally operated transit system, as well as many other public works projects. Whether working to improve the city’s sewer systems, roadways or public utilities, Ray’s efforts made Columbia a better place to live and work. Ray accomplished all of this, and much more, while working with 14 different mayors. Ray and his wife, Dee, have 4 children, 13 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and thousands of friends who admire him and understand the role he has played in Boone County over the span of 60 years.
The 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is a benefit fundraiser for the Historical Society’s Endowment Trust and will be held on Thursday, October 8th, 2015 at the Walters Boone County Historical Museum. The evening includes hors d’oeuvres, wines, beers, video tributes to the enshrinees and a silent auction. Ticket prices to this year’s event will be announced this summer. Congratulations to our three inductees!
ABOUT THE BOONE COUNTY HALL OF FAME
Last years honorees were Little Dixie Construction, author and columnist Warren R. Dalton and the late attorney and Boone County Commissioner Donald G. Sanders. The 49 current members of the Boone County Hall of Fame are;
Daniel Boone, Henry Cave, David Gordon, Ira P. Nash, Anderson Woods, Nancy Sappington, Walter Raleigh Lenoir, William Jewell, John Henderson, Hiram Phillips, Annie Gentry, Robert S. Barr, Moss Prewitt, William Watson Crane, Peter Kemper, John Lange, Sr., John W. Hall, Eli Bass, James S. Rollins, Moses U. Payne, Lucy Wales, George Caleb Bingham, James L. Stephens, John W. Harris, William Switzler, Moses Barth, Achilles F. Sneed, Odon Guitar, Henry Cheavens, Robert B. Price, Adam Rodemyre. J.W. Blind Boone, Annie Fisher. Loy Crump Martin, Albert Bishop Chance, The Columbia Daily Tribune Newspaper, Thomas E. Atkins, Tom Bass, MFA Incorporated, William “Bill” J. Wulff, Bill Crawford, Boone Hospital Center, Frank G. Nifong, Jane Duncan Flink, Stephens College, Luella St. Claire, Warren R. Dalton, Little Dixie Construction, Donald G. Sanders