John O. “Pat” Phelps, passed away peacefully at home November 20, 2022. Pat is the son of George E. and Elizabeth Phelps Sr., born in Carthage in 1938. Pat attended Mark Twain Elementary School and finished his secondary education at Mercersburg Academy in 1956. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Missouri School of Law. He married the love of his life and childhood sweetheart, Carolyn Beimdiek Phelps on August 6, 1960. Pat served in the U.S. Army and returned to Carthage in 1965 to begin his private law practice. During his career, he served as the Prosecuting Attorney for Jasper County. He later worked as a trust attorney for United Missouri Bank before retiring in 2003.
Pat was loved and renowned for his unique sense of humor and his eclectic collections, including Carthage Marble, shot glasses, wrought iron furniture, quarters, and coasters. It brought him great joy to stop at every garage sale that he passed by. He was a man of routine who could be counted on.
Throughout his lifetime in Carthage, Pat has dedicated himself to community service. He could have stayed at Harvard after finishing his undergraduate degree to pursue his law degree there, but came back to the University of Missouri because he knew that he would be settling in his beloved Carthage. Pat has served on the boards of H.E. Williams, McCune-Brooks Hospital, Carthage Rotary Club, Powers Museum, Carthage R-9 School Board, Jasper County Association for Social Services, and the Missouri Southern State University Board of Regents. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Ann’s Catholic Church. Pat was named a 1972 Outstanding Young Man of America; received the Missouri Hospital Association’s Excellence in Governance Award; and the Carthage Chamber of Commerce Richard M. Webster Citizen of the Year in 2005. In 2012, Pat, along with Carolyn, were named Grand Marshals for the annual Maple Leaf Parade.
Pat has been an active participant in historic preservation efforts in Carthage and the surrounding area, including The Phelps House, The Sweet House, the Jasper County Courthouse, St. Ann’s Church, the family’s buildings on the Carthage Square, and the Cave Spring School in Sarcoxie. Along with Carolyn, he jointly serves as Directors Emeritus on the board of Carthage Historic Preservation. In addition to ongoing support for preservation, Pat, along with Carolyn, have been generous givers to MSSU. In recognition of their gifts to the university, an Interdisciplinary Simulation Lab in the Leon Health Sciences Center and a theatre in the Billingsly Student Center are named in their honor. In 2015 he was honored with the Spirit of Philanthropy Award from MSSU. Recently he contributed to the “Big Dreams Grow In Carthage” mural on the southeast corner of the Carthage Square. Pat’s family roots in Carthage run deep and he has given generously of his time, talents, and treasure over his lifetime to enhance this community for generations to come.
Pat leaves behind his beloved wife of 62 years, Carolyn; their three children, Carrie Phelps, Alison Phelps Holman (Chris), and William H. “Bill” Phelps (Lora); 9 grandchildren: Jonathan Holman (Rebekah), Stephen Holman (Megan), Patrick Holman (Jillyan), Rebekah Holman, Lexie Kyriakidis Parks (Frank), Caroline Holman, Theo Kyriakidis, Sheridan Phelps, and Harlow Phelps; great-grandchildren, Ezra Holman and Logan Osterman; his brother in law Steve Beimdiek (Mary); nephews Kevin Phelps and Michael Phelps; nieces Kate Phelps Fischer, Laura Phelps Shaw, Ann Beimdiek Kinsella, and Erin Logsdon; and cousins John E. O’Keefe III and Sheila O. Todd-Wyckoff.
He is preceded in death by his parents, George Sr and Elizabeth Phelps; his three brothers, George Phelps, Jr, Michael Phelps, and Cyrus Phelps; and his nephews Johann Stephen (Hans) Beimdiek and Christopher Beimdiek.
Visitation will be Sunday, November 27 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, and from 6:00pm to 8:00pm (with the Rosary service from 6:00-6:30pm) at the Phelps Barn at 830 East Airport Drive. The funeral service will be Monday, November 28, at 10:30am at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Carthage, with burial to follow at Park Cemetery at 12:00pm. One of Pat’s greatest joys was taking a daily drive around the Carthage area. The processional route to the cemetery will follow Pat’s daily route. The family would love for you to accompany them on the drive. In lieu of flowers, in honor of Pat’s lifelong dedication to the preservation of Carthage, donations may be made to Vision Carthage; Carthage Historic Preservation; or the Carthage R-9 Foundation. Online condolences may be expressed through www.knellmortuary.com. Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Knell Mortuary.
Pat was always seen around town at varying functions any time of year wearing his signature Birkenstocks with socks. Carolyn and their children would be thrilled if you would join them in wearing your Birks with socks to the visitation or the service, as a final tribute to Pat.