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Joy Whitener

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Dr. Joy Eugene Whitener, of Columbia, passed away on Feb. 7, 2014. Visitation is Friday, Feb. 14 at the Follis Funeral Home in Fredericktown, from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Services will be held at Marquand Methodist Church in Marquand, on Feb. 15 at 10:30 a.m., followed by burial in Whitener Cemetery.

Joy was born Feb. 8, 1919 on a farm near Marquand to Lester and Norma Whitener. Throughout his life education was at the center. He earned his bachelor of science degree at Southeast Missouri State in 1942, a master’s degree in school administration at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1952, and his doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis in 1965.

Joy’s pursuit of education was paralleled by the progression of his career. He began as a teacher in one-room rural schools located in Madison County, Mo.  From 1940-1942, he was elementary principal in his hometown of Marquand followed by a year as principal in Chaffee, Mo.

He became a commissioned officer in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he served as superintendent of schools in Marquand, Alton, Louisiana, and Kewanee, Ill., and as an assistant superintendent in Webster Groves, Mo.

In 1965, he accepted the position of Professor of education and dean of the evening college at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Upon retirement, he became professor emeritus and in 1990 was awarded the university system’s coveted Thomas Jefferson Award, which recognizes individuals who “rise above excellence and demonstrate clear distinction.”

He is survived by his beloved wife of 73 years, Jean Lee Whitener; and two children, Joy “Doc” Jr. (Mary) Whitener, and Judy (Richard) Rush; and a brother, Don Harold. Survivors also include 10 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Joy was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Don R. Whitener; brothers Milford, Ray, Floyd and Gerald; his sister, Mildred; and his grandson, Tom.

At various times in his life, Joy was active in the Masons, Rotary, Sons of the American Revolution, and was a long-standing member of the Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Joy E. Whitener Scholarship Fund/University of Missouri-St. Louis, University Advancement, 1 University Blvd/107 Woods Hall, St. Louis, MO 63121, or the Joy and Jean Whitener Scholarship Fund,  Marquand-Zion School District in care of Great Southern Bank, Fredericktown, or a charity of the donor’s choice.