Overby Family Establishes Endowed Scholarship at Southeast


Overby editedCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 10, 2014 — Diane O. Sides of Cape Girardeau, Mo., James M. and Joyce Petty Overby of Bernie, Mo., and Terry and Lisa O. Langley of Springfield, Mo., have endowed a scholarship through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

The scholarship was established as the James M. and Joyce Petty Overby Family Scholarship to honor the legacy of the Overby Family in the Bernie, Mo., area.

The family provided a $10,000 gift to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, with the donation to be matched with an additional $10,000 through a University matching gift program.

The matching gift program is part of the Honoring Tradition – Inspiring Success Comprehensive Campaign through the Foundation. This program allows donors to make a minimum commitment of $5,000 to a maximum commitment of $10,000 through donation or pledge that will qualify for a $1-for-$1 match. The goal of the Campaign is to raise $40 million for student scholarships, academic programs and renovations that benefit students both today and tomorrow.

The renewable James M. and Joyce Petty Overby Scholarship will be awarded to a Southeast student with a minimum 2.5 grade point average.  Preference will be given to a Bernie High School graduate.

As the son of a Methodist minister, Mr. Overby grew up living in a number of communities in Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. He is a graduate of Cabool, Mo., High School and attended Southeast Missouri State Teachers College where he met his wife, Joyce Petty, in Dr. A.C. Magill’s chemistry class where students were seated alphabetically (Overby-Petty).   He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1950 during the Korean Conflict, and was honorably discharged in 1954.

Overby worked in sales and finance management in the automobile and insurance industry prior to his retirement.  He was a member of the American Legion and has actively supported the Bernie High School Mules athletic programs, including serving for 25 years as the official time keeper for Bernie basketball.

Joyce Petty Overby was born and raised on or near the Mills and Petty family homesteads five miles west of Bernie atop Crowley’s Ridge.  The 100-acre Petty Family farm, which was purchased in 1909 by Joyce’s grandfather, George Petty, was inducted into the Missouri Century Farm program in 2010.

She is a graduate of Bernie High School and received a Bachelor of Science in education from Arkansas State University and master’s and specialist’s degrees in education from Southeast Missouri State University. She began her teaching career in a one-room rural school at the age of 17 in 1949, and she taught school or served as an administrator, including more than 30 years in the Bernie School District, until her retirement in 2007.  During her career in education, she taught every age level from kindergarten to eighth grade, and also spent several years teaching special education and remedial reading.  She taught in several rural schools, and served from 2001 to 2007 as the Bernie elementary principal.  She was named Bernie Teacher of the Year and was inducted into the Bernie Hall of Fame.  She was elected to the Bernie School Board in 2009.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Overby have been active members of the Bernie United Methodist Church for more than 60 years, serving in a variety of leadership roles. Both have been active volunteers in the Bernie community for such organizations as Girl Scouts, UMYF, and many student and youth programs associated with the Bernie Public Schools.  For many years, they both volunteered in Bernie with the Meals on Wheels program.

The Overbys are the parents of four daughters, nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

For additional information on the University’s Foundation’s matching gift program, please contact the Southeast Missouri University Foundation at (573) 651-2203 or foundation@semo.edu.