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Lee Mace remembered through Expressway

A stretch of highway at the Lake of the Ozarks will now honor one of Missouri TMs greatest country music legends.

MoDOT officials held a dedication ceremony to name the new Osage Beach Expressway on Highway 54 in memory Lee Mace.

Friends and Family cheered during a ceremony unveiling Lee Mace Memorial Highway. The $130 million expressway will wind around Osage Beach on Highway 54.

Mace founded the Ozark Opry in 1957.

Through the years his Opry entertained more than 30 million-people. Lee Mace died in a plane crash in 1985.

Even though he died more than 20 years ago, those responsible for Mace TMs name on the eight-mile stretch of highway say their dedication is timely.

As we move and take the next step in the lake area of getting this expressway to honor the man who sort of opened up this area," said State Re[resentative of the 155th District Rep. Wayne Cooper (R-Camdenton). "I think is very appropriate.

After more than 50 years of pleasing audiences, Lee TMs wife Joyce Mace closed the Opry in 2005. Before every show, Lee asked members of his audience, "How many of you came here to have a good time?"

Joyce says if her husband were alive today, he would have a good time knowing his name is now a part of Missouri highway history.

I just appreciate everybody coming," said Joyce Mace. "I knew all of them. I TMve probably lived here longer than anybody in town.

Lee Mace is one of the pioneers of entertainment at the Lake of the Ozarks but he TMs also one of the founders of entertainment on KRCG. From 1955 to 1985 Lee Mace TMs Opry was on our airwaves.

The show was live during the first 14 years. One of the most memorable characters was Goofer played Bill Atterbury.

I really enjoyed working with everybody at KRCG," said Atterbury. "They were just so nice. They tolerated us. While they were doing the news live, we were setting up to do the show while they were doing live news. They had to be a little distraction.

Lee Mace is no longer with us, but his tradition continues at many of the country music shows across the country. His name on the Osage Beach Expressway will be with us for many years to come.

MoDOT officials say the Lee Mace Memorial Highway is scheduled for completion within the next two years.

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