Bidding farewell to beloved father, friend, community leader

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Rex Stumpff was a big reason for the recent purchase of the Stumpff’s Family Event Center. He and his wife were celebrating the tractor pull there on July 3. Contributed photo

Stumpff remembered by Cassville, Barry County community

Donald “Rex” Stumpff owned and operated business for decades in the Cassville area, and he is remembered fondly for his work as the Barry County Clerk from 1982-1994, but his biggest legacy is his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

When Donnie Stumpff was asked what he will miss most about his father, he said, “Where do you start?”

When people describe Rex Stumpff, they talk about how happy and kind he was. His smile will be remembered from his childhood to adulthood. Contributed photo

“I am very proud of him,” Donnie said. “He came back to Cassville after college and opened his barber shop, Stumpff’s Barber Shop, in 1961.”

Rex Stumpff was a practicing barber for more than 50 years.

“He was one of the oldest living business persons in town,” he said. “He was the most loving, caring and generous person you could have met. He would give you the last dime in his pocket, even if he needed it.”

Rex Stumpff found great pleasure in community events, like the Cassville Jamboree that was held each year. Stumpff is pictured in the 1960s dressed up for the event. Contributed photo

Rex Stumpff is often remembered as a fair city official.

“He would help anyone who needed it regardless of politics,” Donnie said.

In addition to his barber shop, Rex Stumpff also owned and operated two restaurants in town.

Donnie Stumpff gets his first haircut by his father Rex Stumpff at his local barber shop, Stumpff’s Barber Shop, which is still operating on Main Street. Contributed photo

“He loved working in the restaurants,” Donnie said. “But, his real joy was in the customers. He loved people the most.”

Rex Stumpff married his wife on July 3, 1964, and the couple had two children.

“You couldn’t ask for a better dad,” Donnie said. “One thing he not only taught us, but practiced himself, was to treat people the way you would want to be treated.”

Being kind and courteous and helping others was his passion.

“Dad was like that to everyone, no matter who he was with,” Donnie said. “He tried his best to pass that on to his kids and grandkids.

“However, first and foremost, his lesson was to be a Christian, to love your country and to love God.”

As a parent, Rex Stumpff focused on teaching his children about Jesus and how to be saved.

“You couldn’t have a better example for a parent or a role model,” Donnie said. “There is no doubt that he was saved, and where he went.”

Rex Stumpff loved and was passionate about his family.

“When his kids or grandkids walked in the room, he would just light up,” Donnie said. “My dad was my hero, best friend and dad.”

Rex Stumpff also had a passion for community.

“He just had millions of memories about the old Cassville Jamboree, and other community events,” Donnie said. “He was a big reason why we purchased Stumpff’s Family Event Center. Dad wanted to see some of those community events that brought people together, which we have lost over the years, come back.

“He wanted to see the Cassville families and communities build and grow together.”

Nathan Spiva, barber at Stumpff’s Barber Shop, said his relationship with Rex Stumpff has grown since he was a child.

“I would get my hair cut by him since I was a kid,” Spiva said. “And, even after he was elected the Barry County Clerk, I’d ride my bike from school and stop by the courthouse because he always had candy.”

Spiva said Stumpff was one of the nicest people he had ever known.

“He was always happy,” Spiva said. “He helped me for years knowing I wanted to become a barber. Then, he gave me my first position as a barber, and I am still here — still loyal to him.”

Spiva said Stumpff was always somewhere in the last few years since retiring.

“He loved to talk to people,” he said. He would still come in to see customers, he did his best to make people happy.

“There was a glow in him, not an outward glow that some people have, but an inward glow that just attracted people to him.”

Spiva said Stumpff always had stories and jokes.

“It was a great experience to be around him,” he said. “There are not many people like him left.

“I don’t have family around here anymore, and Rex Stumpff was like another grandfather to me — losing him feels like losing family.”

There are no plans to change anything about the Stumpff’s Barber Shop.

“He would want it to stay the same, just business as usual,” Spiva said.

Don Cupps, owner of Ellis, Cups and Cole P.C., said Rex Stumpff was a good man and a good member of the community.

“He was elected in 1982 as the Barry County Clerk,” Cupps said. “He served for 12 years, three terms.”

In fact, he was the only Democrat clerk to be elected three times.

“Rex was a very dedicated office holder,” Cupps said. “Prior to 1982, there were a lot of concerns about how ballots were handled.”

Cupps said that Stumpff implemented an absentee ballot system in Barry County.

“What Rex implemented made sure that when absentee ballot was requested, a team member from each party went to that person’s home,” Cupps said. “This helped those in nursing homes or the disabled, and answered questions to whether the ballots were being handled properly and fairly. He wanted the elections to be fair.”

Cupps said Stumpff was always fair to both political parties and the candidates.

“Rex was also helpful in getting a county sales tax passed in the mid to late 1980s which helped build the Judicial Center and update and maintenance of the courthouse,” Cupps said. “The county was in a dire financial condition before that. Rex was a genuinely good guy.”

Cupps said he had known Rex Stumpff since he was 10 years old.

“He was friendly, and I can’t say a bad word about him,” he said. “When he was first elected Barry County Clerk, he won by about 100 votes, but because of his fairness and the way he treated everyone, his re-elections won by significant margins.”

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