The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 6, 2013

Joplin businessman Fannun Kanan dies

JOPLIN, Mo. — Fannun Kanan, a Palestinian native who immigrated to Joplin and became respected for his business acumen and benevolence, died at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday at Freeman Hospital West after an illness. He was 84.

Kanan was president of Roadside Investments Inc. and Canaan Land Development Co. He also was vice president of the former Martin Oil Co.

“Fannun Kanan was a longtime presence in Joplin’s business community,” said Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. “As an individual and with his partner, Dr. Richard Joseph, he created a number of developments that brought new business opportunities and new employment to this area. Perhaps most notable is their willingness to work with our economic development team to create a location for AT&T to bring a 600-person customer contact center here a few years ago.”

The AT&T Call Center is located in the Silver Creek Galleria at Range Line Road and Interstate 44, which was developed by Kanan and Joseph.

Kanan grew up in Bethlehem, where he worked as a tour guide and as the manager of an orphanage. In the 1950s, he met the late Thurman Kelley, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, who invited him to come to Joplin and helped him get established.

When he first came to Joplin, he worked for what was Big Brothers, a residential care ranch for children who need behavioral health treatment. The site on West 20th Street is now Ozark Center’s Turnaround Ranch, part of Freeman Health System.

Paula Baker, president and CEO of Freeman, said the experience caused Kanan to be devoted all of his life to the children at the ranch. He served on the Ozark Center board of directors for many years, she said.

“Throughout his years of tenure, he was a true champion for the Turnaround Ranch and the children there,” she said. “He provided scholarships for some of them, and he would go out and visit the kids and do little magic shows for them.”

Kanan entered the hospitality business after he worked at Turnaround Ranch, managing the former Hollywood Inn and the Bob Cummings Motor Hotel, which were located on Range Line Road.

He parlayed the money he made there and the experience he gained into a business ownership that made him a prominent economic force in Joplin.

“He really didn’t have money (when he came to the U.S.), but he made wise investments,” said the Rev. Phillip McClendon, who succeeded Kelley at Calvary Baptist. “Part of it was his business mind, and part of it was his culture. He came here to work, and he wasn’t going to let anything stop him.”

As he accumulated wealth from his investments, he shared his resources both here and in Bethlehem.

“He had been through so much in Bethlehem,” McClendon said. “He saw how people lived (there), and he wanted to change that in his life and he wanted to change that for them, and that’s why he sent so much money back to the Palestinian people.”

He also was active in trying to bring economic development projects to Joplin. He and Joseph maintained a long-standing offer to give land in the Silver Creek Galleria to the city to build a convention center, but it has never been developed.

Kanan served on the board of directors at Commerce Bank of Joplin from 1989 until 2008.

“There is so much to say about Fannun’s contributions to this community,” said Clive Veri, bank president. “A lot of people don’t realize that in addition to being a very intelligent businessman, he was a quiet, benevolent man.”

He was a devout Muslim.

“When it was prayer time, no matter what was going on, he stopped and had his prayer time,” McClendon said.

Kanan and his family made a touching visit to Bethlehem five decades after he had immigrated here. McClendon went on the trip to the Holy Land.

“It was amazing because we went into Bethlehem and even after 50 years, the people knew him,” McClendon said. “We gathered in the municipal offices of Bethlehem, and the people gathered around him and were asking him questions. They had a really great reunion. After a question, they’d get up and hug each other. They were so thrilled to see him.”

Kanan also had a fondness for fast cars, McClendon said.

“He always had a Jaguar or a Mercedes, and he would get in it and drive so fast,” McClendon said. He recalled that he once said something about how fast Kanan was driving. He said Kanan quipped, “‘That comes from my culture of being on a camel and trying to cross the desert. It’s like we’re on the desert.’ I said, ‘No Fannun, this is not the desert. This is I-44.’”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Carthage Council reorganizes

    The Carthage City Council has one new member after Paul McCoy was sworn in as Ward 2 councilman on Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Nevada City Attorney chosen to advise Neosho Ethics Board

    The Neosho City Council on Monday appointed Bill McCaffree, Nevada city attorney, as special counsel to the Neosho Ethics Board. McCaffree will provide the ethics board with legal advice as it investigates an ethics complaint against council members Steve Hart and David Ruth. The vote to hire McCaffree was 3-2, with Hart and Ruth voting against the motion.

    April 22, 2014

  • Jasper County Commission approves contract for storage building expansion

    The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved a contract to expand an equipment storage building at the county’s Highway Department Complex on North River Street. The commissioners accepted a bid from Matt Denney Construction Co., Carthage, to build the 3,000-square-foot addition at a cost of $62,375.

    April 22, 2014

  • Carthage School Board advances funding for building projects

    Financing for a series of building projects planned in the Carthage School District was advanced Monday by members of the Carthage School Board. The board approved a resolution authorizing the sale of $18 million in bonds to finance a series of building improvements and approved lease-purchase financing for the early childhood center currently under construction.

    April 22, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

  • NEO_Big_Event - Bright.jpg NEO students step up for Big Event

    Leann Hartman has a 30-foot ditch filled with leaves that she has to clean out every spring. For the retired schoolteacher, this usually means paying a company to clean it for her, only to have to do it again the following year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Golf tournament supports SIDS research, awareness

    There are probably a lot of reasons the Marshall Dean Keller Memorial Golf Tournament continues to grow year after year, but one of the biggest just might be the cause it supports.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • r042214earthday.jpg Local group launches clean air plan on Earth Day

    It was an Earth Day first for Stephany Aquinaga, a pre-med student and member of the biology club at Missouri Southern State University. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree,” she said.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho teachers express support for Common Core State Standards

    Neosho teachers on Monday voiced their full support for Common Core State Standards. They made their statements to board members during the Neosho Board of Education meeting as an agenda item.

    April 22, 2014

  • Gov. Nixon raises new concern about income tax cut

    Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon raised new concerns Tuesday that a tax cut the Legislature approved could have “cataclysmic” consequences for state revenues — an assertion a Republican legislative leader dismissed as “absurd.”

    April 22, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that a tax cut approved by the Legislature could have a “cataclysmic” effect on state revenues to the tune of $4.8 billion. House Majority Leader John Diehl calls that “absurd.” Who do you believe?

A. Nixon
B. Diehl
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter