Richard “Whitey” Mettlach, 72 years of Monett, passed away February 19, 2021 while at Specialty Select Hospital in Springfield, Missouri from coronavirus complications.
Whitey was born in Pierce City, Missouri to Raymond and Rose (Stipp) Mettlach. He graduated eighth grade from St. Mary’s Catholic School and was a 1966 graduate of Pierce City High School. He joined the Missouri National Guard in 1973 and retired as a Staff Sergeant after serving 20 years. Upon graduation, he worked in several manufacturing supervisory roles in Monett including Engineered Apparel and Wells Aluminum, while attending college at Missouri Southern State College in Joplin. He completed his degree in Secondary Education and Teaching in 1974. Whitey married Dorothy (Dot) Heim in January 1972. They were blessed with one son.
In 1978, Whitey began his teaching career at Monett High School, and it was the start of his long and meaningful impact on hundreds of students and athletes. It seemed fitting when Whitey added coaching to his activities in 1980. He was well-known in the region for his pitching skill, he was especially talented in fastpitch softball where even the best dreaded finding him on the mound. His bright mind coupled with extraordinary talent helped him grow several Monett athletic teams to winning seasons, and his coaching style grew great athletes.
He was Monett’s first baseball coach and was twice, in 1992 and 1994, awarded the Big 8 Coach of the Year. He started coaching the Monett Cross Country team in its second year, and mentored students both on and off the track. After retiring from teaching in 2006, he continued to coach until 2008, but couldn’t turn down an opportunity in 2015, to work as an assistant baseball coach for Pierce City High School under the leadership of his nephew Christopher. His patience, wit, and kind spirit earned him a favored role with hundreds of students and athletes. He left an indelible mark on his community. Whitey remained active in retirement, and since 2007, worked as a realtor alongside Glenna and Wanda at Crown Double K Realty. He found time to develop his golf game and loved spending time on the course a couple times a week.
Whitey was a long-time parishioner of St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Monett where he served on the parish council, school board and for the past several years on the finance council, he was active in the Knights of Columbus giving charitably of his time and for many years could be found working their famous fish fries. His Catholic faith was an integral part of his life and he lived that out, sponsoring others into the church and serving as a godparent to many.
Whitey was preceded in death by his parents, his wife; Dot, two brothers; Don and Joe Mettlach, a sister; Betty Houston, in-laws; Max and Louise Heim, and a brother-in-law; John Heim.
Whitey is survived by his son; Lance and daughter-in-law; Emily, granddaughters; Maddie and Taylor, significant other; Glenna Kraft and her mother Wanda DeGraff of Monett, one sister; Linda Stellwagen of Monett, one brother; Raymond Mettlach (Cheryl) of Pierce City, two sisters-in-law; Stephanie and Christine Mettlach of Sarcoxie, Missouri, and three brothers-in-law; Richard (Alice) Heim, and Bob (Deborah) Heim of Monett and Dennis (Anne) Heim of Rogersville, Missouri, a host of nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews, along with countless family and friends.
Friends may pay their respects from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24th and Thursday, the 25th at Buchanan Funeral Home. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 26th at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Monett. Rosary will be at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, February 27th at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions have been suggested to the Whitey Mettlach Memorial Fund in care of the funeral home. Arrangements have been entrusted to Buchanan Funeral Home, Monett, MO.