Constance Anne (Connie) Shell Guy, 92, passed away at her home on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 surrounded by her loving family.
A celebration of Connie’s life will be held at the First Christian Church in Columbia on Saturday, April 20, 2013, at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Brad Stagg officiating. A reception will follow in fellowship hall.
Connie was born on January 20, 1921 in Laclede, MO. She was the daughter of Lila Flo Hunter Shell and Clifford B. Shell. Following her graduation from Danville, Illinois High School, she graduated from Danville Institute of Business.
She later took courses in elementary education at James Milliken University, Decatur, IL and graduated with a B.S. in Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
She worked as a civil service clerk for the Air Force during World War II and it was while working in Ft. Lauderdale she met her husband, Gerald (Jerry) Guy while he was serving in the U.S. Navy. They married in October, 1944 and he survives.
Connie was a pioneer in early childhood education. Long before kindergarten was a part of the public school system, Connie and two friends began a private kindergarten. She was later asked to teach kindergarten class at West Boulevard Elementary School before kindergarten was a part of the Columbia Public Schools. Connie then became a Columbia Public School kindergarten teacher, teaching for 27 years at Robert E. Lee School.
She earned many honors and awards as an educator. Among those were the Columbia Community Teachers Association Teacher of the Year Award in 1979. She was also recognized as the Outstanding Elementary Educator K-3 in 1982, the inaugural year for this award. She was awarded the Valley Forge Teacher’s Medal from the Freedom Foundation in 1973. She was also a member of many educational and local educational honoraries and organizations.
In addition to her dedication to teaching, Connie was very active in the First Christian Church. She served as a deacon, elder, member of the Administrative Board and also as Christian Women’s Fellowship president. Her main love at the church was her involvement with the children’s music program where she directed various children’s choirs for many years.
She was a very accomplished musician and wrote and arranged most of her own music for the children and accompanied their songs on the piano. She spent many years directing and organizing the annual Christmas pageant at the church. Connie spent most of her life selflessly doing for others, but one of her true loves was spending time with her family at the family lake house near Moberly.
She also enjoyed Mizzou sports and was an active fan at her children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events.
Connie loved life and approached everybody and every day with a smile and a positive attitude. She never met a stranger and was the first to give everyone the benefit of the doubt or to lend a hand. She was a cheerleader for everyone and everything. Connie’s presence just always made everything better. Everyone in the Guy family always knew they had her unconditional love. She will be missed in so many ways. Her legacy will be the many, many lives she has touched.
As a final gift, Connie chose to donate her body to the University of Missouri for research and educational purposes.
Besides her husband, she is survived by her sister, Jackie Sumpter of Louisville, KY and her three children, Patti Freeman (Gary) of Columbia, Kathy Barreto, of Columbia and Tom Guy (Lori) of Springfield, MO. She also is survived by four grandchildren, Matthew Barreto (Julie) of Seattle, WA, Natascha Romero (Tony) of Austin, TX, Adam Guy (Caroline) of Columbia and Ashley Patton (Chase) of Kansas City, MO. Six surviving great grandchildren are Marisol, Juliana and Xavier Romero of Austin, TX, Daniel and Clara Barreto of Seattle, WA and Mason Guy of Columbia.
Expressions of sympathy in lieu of flowers, may be sent to the First Christian Church Special Music Fund., 101 North Tenth Street, Columbia, MO.