One of Springfield and the Ozarks’ premier benefactors, Virginia Cox Bussey, passed away earlier this week at the age of 91. In addition to her wide-ranging support for the arts in the area (read the Springfield Regional Arts Council’s statement on her below), Mrs. Bussey also was responsible for funding and establishing the Senior Dreams program through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Through this program, people age 50 or older with terminal illnesses are able to achieve long-standing wishes, whether it be a trip or a final visit with family. A story about one family’s Senior Dreams grant will be published in our Spring newsletter, which should be out and online in early April. (There is still time to get on the mailing list; e-mail Matt Lemmon to receive it.)
The CFO extends its condolences to the family of Mrs. Bussey.
The board and staff of the Springfield Regional Arts Council are saddened to hear of the loss of Ms. Virginia Cox Bussey, a long-time friend and supporter of the entire Springfield arts community. Ms. Bussey was honored just last year with the 2011 Individual Ozzie Award for her many years as an ardent arts attendee and philanthropist. Her influence reached across many art forms, including organizations such as the Springfield Regional Arts Council, Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Ballet, Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts, Missouri Film Alliance of Springfield, Missouri Literary Festival and the Springfield Symphony Association. She also initiated the Virginia C. Bussey Opera Endowment that provides annual assistance for presenting opera productions at Hammons Hall. There is no question that her extraordinary support of arts organizations, arts venues, festivals and events has led to the growth of the arts in the Springfield area for the past 30 + years. She will be greatly missed by us all.