Clary Funeral Home, country music, death, Eddy Arnold, fire, funeral, Gene Boren, Leona Williams, Leroy New, musicians, non-profit, obituary, OCCMT, Oregon County Country Music Theater, Oregon County MO, Peggy Boren, Thayer MO, theater, Visitation
Thayer, Mo. — A prominent figure in the country music scene here has died. Gene Boren, founder and president of the Oregon County Country Music Theater, passed away today at the age of 81.
Gene’s Country Music Theater brought big name stars to the little town of Thayer theater, but he also promoted local country musicians. He provided a stage and venue for local groups and singers. who would drop in and jam.
Most recently he brought in Leona Williams and son Ron Williams, as well as Leroy New from Branson.
Also a performer, Boren could always be counted on the join in the musical fun and sing several songs by his country favorite Eddy Arnold.
He loved to recount how one time he was invited to take the stage at a Branson show and afterwards sold a bunch of his country music CD’s.
Gene lost his country music theater building to a devastating fire in 2013 but continued to promote shows and local talent. One of his last productions was a show at the West Plains Civic Center in West Plains, Mo. Oregon County Country Music Theater was a non-profit organization incorporated to provide a venue for the community.
Recently in poor health, Boren was still planning to rebuild his country music theater.
Not only the country music community but the area as a whole has lost a strong and vibrant voice supporting the arts, politics and commerce.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife Peggy Boren in January 2012.
Funeral arrangements are being made at Clary Funeral Home of Thayer.
Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p. m. Tuesday, March 24, at the funeral home, 315 S. 6th St., with funeral to follow at 2 p.m. Burial will follow at Hickory Grove Cemetery in Alton, Mo.
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