Closes-Receive-AwardMajor and Marthe Close accept a Leader's Honor Roll aware from MU Extension, presented by Gaylord Moore, retired horticulture specialist.SPRINGFIELD, MO – The Greene County Extension Council honored three individuals Feb. 27 during its annual meeting by adding their names to the University of Missouri Extension’s “Leader’s Honor Roll.”

Among the honorees were Major and Marthe Close, driving forces behind the creation of the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center and the headquarters for Greene County Extension.

“Due to a very special gentleman named Major Close, we can be thankful for the construction of this great landmark and an extraordinary beautiful place to house Extension. Major and Martha, you are truly friends to Extension whom I highly admire and respect for all you have done and continue to do for this community,” said Gaylord Moore, a retired horticulture specialist with Greene County Extension during his introduction of the Closes.


According to Moore, as early as 1994, Master Gardeners received permission from the Springfield-Greene County Parks Board to develop the MG demonstration gardens.

In 1998 the 55 acre Close Memorial park was made possible and established in cooperation with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board through a donation from the C.M. Close family. Major Close had a vision for the property at the time of the purchase. His love for nature, trees, gardens and the great natural beauty of the Ozarks prompted his decision to look into the future and dream about a botanical center.

“I remember very distinctly the time Major came into my office and introduced the idea of a botanical center that could include a permanent residence for Extension. Major was aware of the plan of the Greene County Commission’s plan to vacate the property at 833 Boonville. As a result of Major and wife, Martha’s visionary efforts, their love for the community, and unlimited respect from all who know them, many partnerships were formed to move this effort forward for the community,” said Moore.

Moore also extended thanks to Friends of the Garden, the Greene County Commission, Springfield-Greene County Parks Board, and other organizations, including MU Extension, who made the Botanical Center and gardens happen.

“Each County extension office has an opportunity each year to nominate a person who has made contributions of time and service in developing and carrying out extension programs,” said David Burton, civic communication specialist and county program director for the Greene County Extension Center. “This year in Greene County we were able to place three people on the honor roll list.”

Each honoree was awarded a certificate signed by the president of the University of Missouri during the ceremony. Over the past 30 years, nearly 6,000 Missourians have been added to the University of Missouri Extension Leader’s Honor Roll.

New council members were sworn in by Greene County Clerk Richard Struckoff and several 4-H members also gave demonstrations after the dinner and awards ceremony (videos available at

EVENT PHOTOS AVAIALBLE: Download photos from the annual meeting, including pictures of the award recipients, at

For more information on Greene County Extension Center, visit them online at or call the office at 417-881-8909.