Distinguished Service Awards Honor Six Missouri Residents



Oct. 6, 2006 – The Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association will honor six individuals with Distinguished Service Awards during Homecoming festivities Oct. 21.

Recipients will be June (White) Barton of Catron, Mo., owner of Barton Farm; Bob Keathley of Bernie, Mo., former corporate executive, and his wife, Yvonne Keathley, also of Bernie, retired high school journalism teacher; Dr. Jerry Kinder of Cape Girardeau, medical director of the Wound Healing Center at St. Francis Medical Center; Wedel Nilsen of Cape Girardeau, a retired artist and educator; and Harry Rediger of Cape Girardeau, retired manager of J.C. Penney and newly elected chairman of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

The Distinguished Service Awards, which are being given for the fifth time, are presented to individuals who have made lasting contributions to their communities and to the University, said Jane Stacy, director of alumni services and development at Southeast.

“Each of these people have brought distinction to the University and remain active in the life of the University,” she said.

The awards will be given at an All-Alumni Breakfast to be held at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 21 in the Future Alumni Center, formerly the First Baptist Church Sanctuary, 926 Broadway.

Breakfast tickets are $9 per person. To purchase a ticket or for more information on the awards, call the Alumni Association at (573) 651-2930.

June (White) Barton June (White) Barton graduated from Southeast in 1963, completing her teaching career as a non-traditional student. She has lived in Catron since marrying David Barton, who is now deceased. June Barton continues to own and operate the Barton Farm, a highly successful farming operation totaling more than 6,000 acres. She has been a generous supporter of Southeast for many years as well as other charities in the Sikeston and New Madrid areas. Her past gifts to the University include the establishment of the Dale White Endowed Scholarship, the Greenhouse Fund and the River Campus. She also is a member of the Horizon Club.

Bob and Yvonne KeathleyYvonne Keathley graduated from Southeast in 1976 with a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in English and a minor in journalism. She taught high school journalism and English in Bernie for more than 20 years. At the time of her retirement, her four sons set up a scholarship in her name at Southeast. Since her retirement, she has faithfully served on the advisory board at the Harry L. Crisp Bootheel Education Center in Malden, where she continues to influence students.

Bob Keathley, a successful corporate executive, has been a strong supporter of the Boy Scout program in the area. Recently, he established a scholarship for graduate education students working in the Bernie R-XIII school district. Part of his endowment was set up through  royalties from the sale of his book, 1700s in America, published in 2004 by the Southeast Missouri State University Press.

Dr. Jerry KinderDr. Jerry Kinder graduated from Southeast in 1957. He is a medical director of the Wound Healing Center at St. Francis Medical Center. His surgery practice began in 1966 and continued through 1997. That year, he did 660 major surgical procedures.

He has served with distinction on the American College of Surgeons and the Cape Girardeau County Medical Society, and has been president of Cape Girardeau Doctors Park. He has made substantial investments in the teaching community of Cape Girardeau, including endowing a scholarship at the University in memory of his parents. He is a member of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board of Directors.

Wedel NilsenWhen illness took the life of his wife, Dorothy, Wedel Nilsen invested in the lives of nursing students, establishing an endowed scholarship fund in her memory. He also became a member of the Horizon Club, providing a means through his estate to benefit nurses and care-givers of those who work with the ill and infirm.

The Nilsens lived in Elmhurst, Ill., for many years. Wedel Nilsen has enjoyed a long career as an artist and educator. He is gifted as an illustrator, and in cultivating that gift, he chose to work with and for the teaching profession. For the many social studies textbooks on which he collaborated, Wedel was always much more than an illustrator. His assignments included editing them for young readers, and he soon found himself involved in the actual writing of the texts as well.

Harry RedigerHarry Rediger is retired from J.C. Penney after a 38-year career with the company. Southeast Missouri State University has been a large part of his life. He has served in many volunteer capacities, including chairman of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation and president of the Booster Club. His advice and counsel has permeated many avenues of University life. He has received a number of awards for his community service, including the Rush H. Limbaugh Service Award.