Dr. Joy Eugene Whitener of Columbia died Friday, February 7, 2014. He was born February 8, 1919 on a farm near Marquand, the son of Lester and Norma Whitener.
Joy was preceded in death by his parents; son Don R. Whitener; brothers Milford, Ray, Floyd and Gerald; sister Mildred; and grandson Tom.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 73 years, Jean Lee Whitener; children Joy Jr. “Doc” (Mary) Whitener, and Judy (Richard) Rush; brother, Don Harold; ten grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
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 in Madison County. From 1940-1942, he was elementary principal in Marquand followed by a year as principal in Chaffee.
He became a commissioned officer in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he served as Superintendent of Schools in Marquand , Alton, Mo., Louisiana, Mo., and Kewanee Ill., and as an assistant superintendent in Webster Groves.
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.”
At various times in his life, Joy was active in the Masons, Rotary, and Sons of the American Revolution. He was also a long-standing member of the Methodist Church.
Visitation is 5-8 p.m., Friday, February 14 at Follis & Sons Funeral Home. Services will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, February 15 at the Marquand Methodist Church. Burial will be at the Whitener Cemetery in Marquand.