John Whitesell was born April 29, 1939 to Winfield Scott Whitesell and Clarice Mable (Swearingen) Whitesell in Mountain Grove, MO. He was welcomed into the family by sisters Mable Revae and Twila Jean, two brothers Kenneth and Paul.
John was always a worker. He began delivering the Joplin New Herald in Neosho. He delivered two morning routes and two evening routes. In the tenth grade he began working at McClintock IGA. At age 11, John and his brother, Paul, age 13 began mowing lawns as a team. John began working at Robinson Davis Lumber Co. He worked there five years, 1956-1961. In 1961 he moved to Kansas City, MO. There he lived with his sister Twila and her husband Fred and their two daughters, Marilyn and Marcelyn. He began working at Dunlop Tire and Rubber Corp where his brother-in-law Fred, worked. John started out rolling tires and worked his way up to operations manager with his own secretary.
In 1962 he married Virginia Medlin in a double wedding ceremony with her sister Eulah Medlin and Frank Buchanan, at the United Pentecostal Church in Joplin, MO. The ceremony was performed by Rev. William Garrett, Pastor. They celebrated 58 ½ years of marriage in 2020. In 1976 Dunlop Tire moved to Morton, IL. While they were there, John and Virginia bought a Cessna 150 and later a Cessna 172. They leased them to a flying club, but both acquired their pilot licenses. They also had a short clown ministry, entertaining children. They loved to sing and sometimes sang duets. They also attended gospel concerts at every opportunity. In 1989 Dunlop relocated to K.C., MO. John worked for Dunlop for 38 ½ years. The company wanted to transfer him back to the east, but he didn’t want to relocate again. He did take several business trips for them and Virginia was able to go also.
John was a wonderful husband, friend, brother, brother-in-law and uncle. He was a Godly man, faithful to pray, read his bible and attended church. He was a people person, friendly and very outgoing. He also liked horses and owned a quarter horse for several years. John and Virginia’s greatest joy in life was the opportunity to go on short mission trips. Mexico, Colombia, South America, Argentina, Belgium, Guatemala, Poland, Dominican Republic, Slovakia, Chile, Scotland, Finland, Macedonia, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Haiti. They went on Jerusalem Tours, consisting of Israel, Egypt and Istanbul, Turkey. They took a “Footsteps of Paul” trip. On Mission trips they worked on churches and tried to do whatever needed to be done. John could do all kinds of building and construction work as well as repair work. Virginia worked right along beside him.
They also took a trip to Australia with Frank and Eulah and a couple of trips to Hawaii with John’s sister Esther and her husband Leon. They have been to all fifty states.
John and Virginia joined Gideons International in 1991, and have been part of it ever since.
After retiring they returned to Joplin in 2001 to be closer to family. They bought a house in Duquesne to make their home.
John went to his heavenly home Thursday evening February 11, 2021 with family by his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Kenneth and Paul, sisters Revae Musgrove, Twila Millender, Miriam Casteel and niece Marilyn Routein, two brothers-in-law, Fred Millender and Charles Musgrove.
He is survived by his wife Virginia, one sister, Esther (Leon) and one brother Jesse (Becky) and ten nieces Regina, Roschelle, Jeanie, Sharon, Naomi, Deborah, Juanita, Venia, Wendy and Marcelyn, and three nephews, Paul Allen, Jonathan, and Tim.
Funeral service will be Monday, February 22, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Forest Park Baptist Church with Dr. John Swadley officiating. Interment will follow in Carterville Cemetery with Jesse Whitesell, Paul A. Whitesell, Leon Masters, Randy Patrick, Jonathan Whitesell, and Tim Casteel serving as pallbearers.
The family will receive friends at Forest Park Baptist Church on Monday from 1:00 p.m. until service time.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to The Gideons International.