Missouri Republicans, gathered in Springfield for the party’s state convention, had heard word Saturday morning that former President Ronald Reagan was very ill and near death. But that didn’t ease the pain felt by so many when they were given the official word of Reagan’s death by State Party Chair Ann Wagner. Wagner, who credits Reagan and his philosophy with getting her into politics, says the man known as “the Great Communicator” is in a better place now. Senator Christopher Bond, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate during Reagan’s second term in the White House, describes Reagan as a man of great vision whose communication skills were matched by the message that he carried. Several of the party faithful attending the gathering expressed heartfelt admiration for Reagan and what he meant to the nation. Gregg York of Butler says Reagan did a lot for our country. The Reverend Robert Weiter of St. Louis County says President Reagan had a tremendous and lasting impact on so many Americans.