Mary Kathleen McCleary Posner earned her wings peacefully at home, surrounded by family Oct. 26, 2019, in Columbia.

Mary was born March 21, 1939, to Glenn and Julia McCleary. She attended University High School (UHigh) in Columbia from age 4 through her senior year of high school. She attended Ohio Wesleyan University and was the fourth generation of her family to do so. She received her bachelor’s degree from MU and a master’s degree from Indiana University. Mary also did a postgraduate master’s degree in business administration work in marketing and international management at New York University’s graduate business school.

Mary’s working career was extensive as well, serving as president of Posner McCleary Inc., an international firm specializing in management consulting, marketing, advertising and financial relations with service to corporations, law firms, colleges and universities. She was a trustee for both the Robert W. Plaster Trust and the Robert W. Plaster Foundation. In addition, Mary was on the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Small Business Administration and served on the International Trade Committee, including its Executive Committee. She also served as the chairperson of the Audit Committee of Empire District Electric Company.

Mary was the co-founder and president of The Memorial Day Weekend Salute to Veterans Corporation, an educational company. The corporation, founded by Mary and driven by her love for our veterans, led to the creation of the annual six-day Salute to Veterans celebration. This prestigious event, held in Missouri for the past 33 years, included a free air show, parade and various ceremonies. The weekend celebration was produced by Mary with the help of hundreds of volunteers and numerous committee chairs solely to “Honor and Remember Those Who Served and Those Currently Serving in Our Armed Forces, Guard, Reserves and Our Allies.”

Mary was laid to rest in the Columbia Cemetery next to her husband, Alan; parents, Glenn and Julia; as well as her brother, John. A Celebration of Life honoring Mary will be held next spring with details to follow. Donations in Mary’s memory may be made to Welcome Home, 2120 Business Loop 70 E. Columbia, MO 65201.

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