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Obituaries Published in March 30 California Democrat

Obituaries Published in March 30 California Democrat

March 29th, 2011 by Democrat Staff in News


Don Birdsong, 91, of California, Mo., passed away on March 23, 2011 at his residence.

He was born June 22, 1919 the son of Edgar R. and Fredricke (Rick) Maloney Birdsong whom preceded him in death.

He attended Mason and Pilot Grove Schools. He worked for several farmers and when he was 19 went to Kansas City to work. In 1941 he joined the Army and served four and one half years. He was overseas for three years - in Europe, Africa and Italy. Don was awarded the Purple Heart, five bronze stars for saving a convoy of American soldiers from Nazi airplanes and was honorably discharged in June, 1945. He worked for Pratt and Whitney until the war ended.

He was married on September 6, 1947 to Bobbie Jackson in California, Mo., who survives of the home.

When Don returned home he purchased the UpTown cleaners which he owned for five years. He then went to work for Scheidt Hardware and Gas Inc. and worked there for 28 years. Don was a co-owner the last seven years. The business sold in 1977. Don was a member of the First Baptist Church in California, Mo., where he was a deacon, trustee and Sunday school teacher and on the California City Council. He loved to fix things and help people, attend MU basketball and football games, and spending time with his family.

He is survived by one son, Kim Birdsong and wife Jana of Sedalia, Mo.; two daughters, Donna Birdsong and husband Michael Staudte of Austin, Texas, and Kay Hall with husband David of Ft. Pierce, Fla.; one sister, Norma Wise and husband Floyd of California, Mo., four grandchildren, Ashley Greer, David (DJ) Hall, Clint and Carly Birdsong; and one great-grandchild, Olivia Greer. He is preceded in death by three brothers, Billie, Brooks and Charles Gray Birdsong; two sisters, Florence and Jeanette.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Memorials are suggested to the First Baptist Church of California, 208 S. Oak St, California, MO 65018.

Arrangements are under the direction of Bowlin-Cantriel Funeral Services, California, Mo.


Leon A. Gunter, 63, California, died March 26, 2011 at his residence.

He was born Dec. 4, 1947 in St. Louis, son of Harlus L. and Alice (Melkus) Gunter. He was married Sept. 1, 1968 to Kathleen Smith, who survives.

He is survived by three sons, Leon R., Ronnie G., and Ricky L. Gunter; two daughters, Angela R. Warren and Kathleen M. Gunter; two brothers, Bobby and Ronnie Gunter; three sisters, Helen Barron, Linda Bingham, and Rena Pfeiffer; and 15 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one brother, James Gunter.

Memorial services will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are under the direction of Bowlin-Cantriel Funeral Services, California.


Thomas C. "T.C" Harris, Sr., age 73 years, of Jefferson City, Mo., passed away Thursday, March 24, 2011 at his home after a long battle with cancer.

T.C. was born June 9, 1937 in Cooper County, Mo., the son of James O. and Eula K. Odil Harris. He was married on November 5, 1975 in Jefferson City, Mo. to Norma Houchins.

A lifelong resident of the central Missouri area, T.C. served in the United States Marine Corps from 1954 until 1957.

He was employed as a maintenance supervisor with Von Hoffman Press for 30 years prior to his retirement in 1999.

T.C. was a member of the First Baptist Church of Elston, Mo., and enjoyed working puzzles and watching bull riding. Most importantly, he loved spending time with his family and grandchildren.

Survivors include: his wife, Norma Harris; four sons, Chuck Houchins and his wife Karla of Jefferson City, Mo., Thomas Harris, Jr. and his wife Tammy of Burleson, Texas, Scott Harris and his wife Janet of Jefferson City, Mo., and David Harris and his wife Sherry of Smithville, Mississippi; three daughters, Kathy Blakely and her husband Win of California, Mo., Donna Neely and her husband Nathan of Centertown, Mo., and Renee Griffith of Jefferson City, Mo.; one brother, James Elliott, Jr. and his wife Debbie of California, Mo.; two sisters, Mildred Hampsten and her husband Ron of Texas and Elsie Burks and her husband Bob of Wichita, Kansas; 16 grandchildren, Audrey Houchins-Thoenen and her husband Kevin, Danielle Houchins, Sarah Neely, Jennifer Neely, Erin Neely, Cory Blakely and his wife Katie, Ryan Harris, Zachary Beeler, Austin Harris, Heather Harris, Brandon Harris, Lacy Griffith, Candice Harris, Kerry Griffith, Victoria Harris, and Gabe Harris; and five great-grandchildren, Lili, Railen, Scialus, Cortez, and Willow.

He was preceded in death by his parents; five sisters; three brothers; and one great-grandchild, Isabelle Blakely.

Funeral services were conducted at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 26, 2011, at the First Baptist Church of Elston with the Reverend Kenneth Campbell officiating. Graveside services and entombment with military honors was held at the Mausoleum of Hawthorn Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to St. Jude Children's Hospital, SSM Hospice, or the Missouri Baptist Children's Home.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Freeman Mortuary.


Helen P. Stevens, 77, Eldon, formerly of Jamestown, died March 22, 2011 at her home.

She was born in Lawson, daughter of John McKinley and Pauline Strode Teegarden. She was married Feb. 10, 1950, to Donald Humbard. She was married March 31, 1988, to Onsell Stevens who preceded her in death on Feb. 3, 2000.

Survivors include: one son, Richard Humbard; three daughters, Patricia Ray, Belinda Hensley and Marsha Callahan; one son-in-law Peter D. Schlup; 12 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild; one sister, Nancy Lowe; and two brothers, Lewis and Thomas Teegarden.

Her body has been cremated under the direction of Rekus Funeral Home, Eldon.