Joy Eugene Whitener devoted his life to teaching

Saturday, February 8, 2014 | 8:10 p.m. CST; updated 12:36 p.m. CST, Sunday, February 9, 2014

COLUMBIA — Joy Eugene Whitener began his career in education as a rural teacher in one-room schools. By the time he retired, he was a lauded professor at the University of Missouri—St. Louis.

Joy Eugene Whitener of Columbia died Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. He was 94.

He was born Feb. 8, 1919 near Marquand to Lester and Norma Whitener. He married Jean Lee Whitener.

Dr. Whitener devoted his life to education. He began as a teacher in one-room schools throughout Madison County. He was an elementary school principal in his hometown of Marquand from 1940 to 1942. This was followed by a year as a principal in Chaffee.

In 1942, he earned his bachelor's degree at Southeast Missouri State University.

During World War II, Dr. Whitener became a commissioned officer in the Navy. After the war, he served as superintendent in Marquand, Alton, Louisiana, Mo.,and Kewanee, Ill., and as assistant superintendent in Webster Groves.

He earned his master's in school administration from MU in 1952 and his doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis in 1965.

In 1965, he became a professor of education and dean of the Evening College at University of Missouri-St. Louis.

When he retired, Dr. Whitenerbecame professor emeritus. He was awarded the University of Missouri System's Thomas Jefferson Award, which "recognizes faculty who rise above excellence and demonstrate clear distinction in teaching, research, writing, creative activities, and service to the University of Missouri and humankind" in 1990.

Dr. Whitener was a long-time member of the Methodist Church and was active in the Masons, Rotary Club and Sons of the American Revolution.

Dr. Whitener is survived by his wife, Jean Lee Whitener; a daughter, Judy Rush, and her husband, Richard; a son, Joy "Doc" Jr. Whitener, and his wife, Mary; ten grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

His son Don R. Whitener; brothers Milford, Ray, Floyd and Gerald; sister, Mildred; and grandson, Tom, died earlier.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Follis & Sons Funeral Home, 700 Madison Plaza Drive in Fredericktown. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Marquand Methodist Church, 201 N Martha St. in Marquand. Burial will follow at Whitener Cemetery in Fredericktown.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Joy E. Whitener Scholarship Fund, 107 Woods Hall, 1 University Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. 63121,  the Joy & Jean Whitener Scholarship Fund/Marquand-Zion School District in care of Great Southern Bank, 100 Pine Castle Estate Blvd., Fredericktown, Mo. 63645, or a charity of the donor's choosing.

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