Jonna McKendree Merritt was born September 26th, 1934 in Paducah, KY to Alice and J.U. McKendree. She passed away on June 7th, 2015, in Blue Springs, MO, surrounded by her loving family. She moved with her parents and older sisters Sue and Rebekah to Kuttawa, KY at age 3, where she lived until her sophomore year of high school. She moved with her mother to Sedalia, MO and graduated from Smith-Cotton High School in 1952. She attended Central Missouri State College (now UCM) and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education in 1956. She met and married Robert, her husband of 58 years at college and they began married life in Raytown, where she taught 2nd grade at Southwood Elementary until 1959, when she left to start their family.
She and Bob are the proud parents of three wonderful daughters, Melissa Beal, Amy Merritt and Julie Kelly. She was able to stay home to raise them until she returned to teaching after completing her Master’s Degree in Reading. She became a full-time remedial reading teacher at Franklin Smith Elementary in Blue Springs, and later became Coordinator of Reading for the school district. She became certified in Adult Education and was the Director of Adult Ed. after 18 years as Director of Reading. She went on to implement the Community Education Program. She retired from the Blue Springs School District in 2001 and enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to have time for family and granddaughters Katie and Allison Kelly and Mary Beal.
Jonna was an active member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and obtained the Golden Violet level in 2014, representing 50 years as a member. She served for several years on the University of Central Missouri (UCM) Alumni Board, serving as president for a term. She was also active in Delta Kappa Gamma as treasurer; International Reading Association (local and state levels); and served as state treasurer for four years.
Jonna belonged to Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church and served as a deacon two times, and worked with the Worship and Music Ministry for 12 years, helping to prepare for worship each Sunday.
Jonna and family wish to thank their many friends and medical staff — especially Drs. Brian Osgood and Diane Voss and their treatment-room staff, and Peggy, who answered her many questions.
Preceding her in death were her parents, sisters and nephew, Jeff Wilson. She leaves her husband, Bob, daughters and granddaughters, two wonderful sons-in-law, Bob Kelly and Paul Beal, niece Caroline Wilson Trejo of Cancun, Mexico and nephew Dan Wilson of London and several other nieces and their families.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 11th, from 5-7 p.m. at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church. Funeral services will be held Friday, June 12that 11 a.m. at Chapel Hill, with a luncheon to follow at the church. The family requests no flowers, but donations can be made in Jonna’s memory to Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, 3108 SW US Highway 40, Blue Springs, MO 64015.
Arrangements entrusted to Meyers Funeral Chapel, 1600 W. Main St., Blue Springs, MO, 816-229-3276.