Ozarks Greenways dedicates new mosaic on beloved Frisco Highline Trail in Willard

Ozarks Greenways observed the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Frisco Highline Trail with a ceremony at the trailhead in Willard on Saturday, Oct. 19, to honor the memory of the late Bill Compere, a former board member of Ozark Greenways who was instrumental in acquiring the land for the trail. During the ceremony, a 10-foot memorial mosaic medallion, newly installed at the trailhead, was dedicated in honor of Compere, who was Ozarks Greenways treasurer at the time the organization acquired the land for the trail.
Susie Turner, president of Ozarks Greenways, began the ceremony by giving a brief history of the Frisco Highline Trail and spoke on how it had become a boon to Willard and other communities.
“Today, the vision for this trail has become an enormous benefit for the region and the communities that are along our trail,” she said. “It’s attracted visitors from all over the world. We’ve hosted a number of running and cycling events. We’ve become a recreation reflection and celebration destination for many people. And, we’ve enhanced the economic vitality by bringing customers to visit existing businesses along the trail and encouraging new businesses … to open up.”
She then spoke of Compere, stating, “He is being remembered today as part of the celebration for his vision and his love for Ozark Greenways that he brought.”
“He often wore a Fedora hat and appeared to be a very quiet and conservative person,” she said. “In reality, he had great wit, could really think out of the box, and was a great consensus builder. He loved life, and died much too soon.”
Also speaking was Dave Catlin, a former board member of Ozark Greenways and friend of Compere. He called the trail “an important part of Bill’s legacy and a wonderful reason to be remembering him today as well.”Catlin added that while the cost seemed pretty steep, Compere never doubted that Ozark Greenways could make the trail a reality.
“There was a price tag to (the corridor), and that price tag was over $600,000 … probably about 50 times the amount we had in our bank account,” Catlin said. “And this notion of acquiring the corridor and using the rails, scrap iron (and) the ties to pay for it, was one that came up. I, for one, looked at Bill, as he was our treasurer at the time … and said, ‘Are we crazy, or can we do that?’ And, surprisingly, maybe to some. Bill wasn’t hesitant at all. His vote was, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’”
Anne Cox, Compere’s widow, also shared some memories of him.
“His honesty and kindness knew no bounds, and he loved deeply his family, his friends and his town,” she said. “I used to call him Mr. Springfield, because everything he was interested in, involved Springfield and Ozark Greenways.”
Christine Schilling, the artist who created the mosaic, said the bicycle design was chosen with Compere in mind.
“Anne Cox’s idea was that Bill loved bicycles, and he loved this trail, so it is a bicycle, and it is a wheel, and we call it ‘Wheels Up,’” she said.
Cox said the design was chosen because Compere enjoyed cycling, and added that the mosaic was only the first part of his memorial.
“I wanted to do a bicycle for him, just to represent what he enjoyed,” she said. “And, I wanted a little place or respite. So, we started with a patio, and we have plans to do more to it, so that there will be benches and flowering bushes and things so people can get off the trail and take a little break.”
David Compere, Bill Compere’s son, said the mosaic was a fitting tribute to his father.
“I think it’s a great memorial for him,” he said. It’s a really neat occasion, and this is an area that he really loved. I think, once it’s finished, it’s going to be a place where people can gather and enjoy the beauty of the trail, and he really liked doing those things.”



Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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