Celebration of life for Munger Moss owner includes cleanup, fundraiser for National Register

Munger Moss Motel, Bob and Ramona Lehman

The Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri, is hosting a celebration of life on May 3-5 for its longtime co-owner that will include a cleanup of the site and a fundraiser to list the property on the National Register of Historic Places.

The celebration of life is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 5 that will include a cake and refreshments. The event will pay tribute to Ramona Lehman, who died in August. Her husband and co-owner Bob Lehman died in 2019. The Lehmans owned the Route 66 motel for almost 50 years.

“My mom’s birthday was May 7, and she would have wanted this,” her daughter Shelly Lehman-Cravens said in a phone interview.

The weekend also serves as TLC for the motel. Lehman-Cravens said “Mom let a lot of things go” with maintenance on the property when her health began to decline not long before her death. Lehman-Cravens said the weekend will include painting and other work.

The Lebanon-Leclede County Route 66 Society also is hosting a fundraiser to help with the cleanup and so it can file documents to list the Munger Moss Motel to the National Register of Historic Places.

An online donation page by the society has been set up here.

Lehman-Cravens said she’ll continue to operate the motel indefinitely, though she volunteered she is contesting the property’s sale by her sister to another party.

“We want it sold eventually to a Route 66 person,” she said. “I want to make sure the right owners get it.”

The motel’s name came from a sandwich shop of the same name in nearby Devil’s Elbow, Missouri, built in 1936 by Nellie Munger and her husband, Emmitt Moss.

The couple relocated to Lebanon after U.S. 66 bypassed Devil’s Elbow, and they founded the Munger Moss Motel in 1946.

(Image of Bob and Ramona Lehman at their Munger Moss Motel by the Missouri Division of Tourism via Flickr)

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