Ozark Outdoors

Square sculpture to be ‘tumbled’ Tuesday in honor of Tom Billionis

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The Tumbler on Park Center Square in Springield will be reset Tuesday morning in Tom Billionis's memory.

The Tumbler on Park Center Square in Springield will be reset Tuesday morning in Tom Billionis’s memory.

This tumble’s for you, Tom Billionis.

Workers for the Public Works Department are dedicating the summertime rotation of the Park Central Square sculpture, the Tumbler, to late Coffee Ethic owner, Tom Billionis, at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 21.

Billionis, who died April 16, 2016 was running on the Sac River Trail on Saturday when he suffered a medical emergency. He was a passionate supporter of downtown Springfield business development. Tuesday, June 21, would have been his 45th birthday.

Second from right, the late Tom Billionis dances during the Greek Festival.

Second from right, the late Tom Billionis dances during the Greek Festival.

“Tom was really excited when we discovered the sculpture is supposed to be tumbled every season,” says Public Works Assistant Director Martin Gugel. “It is right outside his coffee shop. We think this is a fitting way to honor his memory, especially on his birthday.”

Created by Greek American sculptor Aris Demetrios, “The Tumbler” was installed on the square in 1971 and is regarded as Springfield’s first piece of modern art. It was discovered in recent years that the sculpture was intended to be re-oriented, or “tumbled,” every season to create a new piece of art. Creation of the Tumbler was funded by an arts patron identified as “Mrs. Monroe Swyers,” who reportedly donated $15,000. Demetrios said that barely covered the cost of steel to make it.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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