Business Hall of Fame: Quincy's Class of 2012

Five people whose lives and legacy made a big impact on the city of Quincy will now have a permanent plaque inside the Oakley Lindsay Center.

This year, the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the Business Hall of Fame to the late John Stevenson Senior, Carl Merkel, Dr. Walter Whitaker along with George Spear and his late wife Charlotte Spear.

Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered at the Ambiance for the chamber's annual luncheon while showing support for the families accepting the award.

The first inductee, Carl Merkel, led his family business from a corner store to a corner stone in Quincy becoming the president of Merkel's Inc.

"He was just a good ole' guy. Worked hard for his achievements that he received in his life," said his son, Russell Merkel.

George Spear and his late wife Charlotte were known to comfort many people in times of heartache. Together they ran a family business, the Hansen-Spear Funeral Home.

"My father is absolutely honored to be awarded the chamber of commerce award with my mother. If my mother were here today, she'd be honored too, probably a little embarrassed. I don't think they ever thought of what they do as a business, but just what they do," said Jeff Spear.

The sudden death of John Stevenson Sr. shocked his family and friends as well as his partners in the Stevenson Paxton Wealth Management Group, now affiliated with Wells Fargo Advisors.

"If he believed in a cause, he would volunteer and donate and do anything he could to help them. And he would take it over the top. Same thing with his family and his friends and his dogs," said Jenny Croke, Stevenson's daughter.

Stevenson died soon after being told he would be inducted into the hall of fame.

Dr. Walter Whitaker's family took to the stage as one to accept the award for the co-founder of the Quincy Clinic, now known as Quincy Medical Group.

"He would be extremely honored and touched if he were here today. He touched so many lives in the Quincy community," said Ellen McIntyre, Whitaker's granddaughter.

"To be honored with something like this and to be included with the past recipients and ones that are going in today, like John Stevenson and Dr. Whitaker and Mr. Merkel, it's just humbling to our family to be included with people like that," said Jeff Spear.

This is the 7th year the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce has inducted leaders into its Business Hall of Fame.