Big loss for Seligman community

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On May 21, Seligman lost a vital member of its community. Duane Corn, who was a long-time Seligman resident and served as the city's mayor for the last six years, passed away last Thursday night.

Duane was one of the first city officials that I met after being hired as a reporter at the Cassville Democrat. Only a week after I began my new job, the City of Seligman enacted a boil order due to a water main break. I visited the city to take a photo of residents picking up water provided by the American Red Cross. When I arrived at the Seligman City Hall, I was greeted by Duane who was spending his day handing out water and offering area residents assistance in any way possible.

Over the last few years, I have covered several events that have occurred in Seligman, and Duane was always a major part of all of those events.

In 2005, Duane helped secure a $16,000 Walmart grant that allowed the city to construct the Sonny Young Baseball Field. Around two years later, he worked to secure a Tony Hawk Foundation grant that helped the city construct a skatepark in Elsie Corn Memorial Park. This year, his worked helped the city win the Missouri Rural Water Association's Wastewater System of the Year Award.

In addition to these accomplishments, Duane created and managed street improvement projects that updated and repaired many city streets each year. He also spent a large amount of his own time assisting city employees in the maintenance of city utilities and Seligman's exceptional park system.

Duane also took time to ensure local volunteers who helped improve the city were properly recognized. Each year, he presented a series of awards, including Seligman Man and Woman of the Year Awards, to individuals who helped improve the local community.

In addition to working tirelessly to help improve Seligman, Duane spent hours campaigning to protect the Mark Twain National Forest when an initiative was proposed that would have allowed the federal government to sell a portion of the public land located in Barry County. He wrote letters to local legislators and collected signatures from other individuals opposed to the proposal.

I know that the challenges of serving the public were burdensome for Duane at times. Although he was devastated when Seligman voters defeated a city parks and recreation tax, he worked to secure another Walmart grant, which was used to maintain the city's park system. Later, when he was re-elected to his position by write-in vote, even though he had opted not to run for mayor again, he continued to dedicate hours of his time to Seligman.

It saddens me to know how much Seligman has lost with the passing of Duane Corn. Even more, it saddens me to know that I will no longer see him at any of the city's council meetings, festivals and community events. Duane was more than a man dedicated to serving his community. He was a man of integrity who treated others with respect. He was also a man who always had a warm smile for his friends and acquaintances alike.

My heart goes out to Duane's family and the entire Seligman community. Duane will be missed by many people for many, many years to come.

Lindsay Reed