Cape Girardeau architect dies at 71

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thomas Holshouser, a well-known Cape Girardeau architect with 750 building projects on his resume, died Monday at age 71.

He died of an unexpected illness, daughter Kim Link said.

Holshouser retired April 30 after 39 years of operating Holshouser & Associates, a Cape Girardeau architecture firm with offices at 219 N. Clark Ave. While he was licensed in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Arkansas, he left a big imprint on Cape Girardeau, designing Fire Station No. 1 at 1 S. Sprigg St., the police department building at 40 S. Sprigg St. as well as renovations to the terminal building at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, and a city school that was transformed into city hall at 401 Independence St.

Holshouser also designed dozens of buildings for Midamerica Hotels, including the Holiday Inn Express in Cape Girardeau.

His major influence was Frank Lloyd Wright, Link said, and his home on Hopper Road with a creek running under the kitchen and dining room showed that, as did many of his commercial buildings, she said.

"He was definitely one who strived for perfection and never gave up," she said. The home, she added, "was exactly how he wanted it."

Holshouser retired April 30 but had planned an active retirement, Link said. He loved boating on the Mississippi River and riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, she said.

Businessman T. Robin Cole, vice president of Cape Area Habitat for Humanity, said Holshouser designed 38 of the 42 homes built by the agency, all without charging a fee. Cole also said Hols­houser was a close friend and his mentor in the Rotary Club.

"When I called him to help with Habitat, he never said no," Cole said. "He was one of the most long-term, consistently generous people to help others that I know."

Holshouser's last project before retirement was designing the renovations for the building that will become the Shelter of Hope homeless shelter at 320 S. Sprigg St. That renovation is underway.

Link said the visibility of her father's work will, over time, help ease the loss. Her favorite is an office building at the intersection of Kings­highway and Mount Auburn Road, although the flagstand in County Park North and city hall are also gems, she said.

"It will be nice to drive around and see those," she said.


Pertinent addresses:

219 Clark Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO

1 S. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

40 S. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

320 S. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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