Mansion gesture helps replace gift destroyed by Joplin tornado

Cyndy Carder and her mother, Billie Shanks, pose with the roof tiles they received courtesy of Missouri Mansion Preservation. The women lost their original hand-painted tiles when their Joplin homes were destroyed in the May 22 tornado.

Cyndy Carder and her mother, Billie Shanks, pose with the roof tiles they received courtesy of Missouri Mansion Preservation. The women lost their original hand-painted tiles when their Joplin homes were destroyed in the May 22 tornado. Photo by Julie Smith.

In Billie Shanks’ home on Missouri Avenue in Joplin, an old black roofing tile hung with the image of a bluebird, redbuds and dogwoods. She would stare at the Christmas gift each day as she started her morning in her kitchen.

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This tile, as well as others that had spent 66 years on the roof of the Governor’s Mansion, were converted to art for a Missouri Mansion Preservation Inc. fundraiser. Artist Dennis Holliday painted the bluebird on the tiles. He is now painting images of the mansion itself and the Governor’s Garden as second and third pieces in the series.

But it was the image of the bluebird that Shanks loved, and then lost in the Joplin tornado earlier this year, said her daughter, Kristi Rhoads.

“She lost everything,” Rhoads said. “This was something I could replace for her.”

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