Jossie “Cleo” Warden

Jossie “Cleo” Warden, age 104, of Carthage, Missouri, passed away early Sunday morning, December 4, 2022. Cleo was born on July 22, 1918, at Marietta, Oklahoma, the youngest of eight children born to John and Emma (Huggins) Reed. Her parents were sharecroppers, and during Cleo’s childhood the family moved from farm to farm in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas until the Depression forced several family members to seek jobs in California.

Cleo worked for several years in the early forties at a fruit packing plant in Orange Cove, California. There she met and married Earnie Warden in 1945. Earnie and Cleo’s three children, Michael, Marvin and Quetha, were all born in California, but in 1957 the family moved to a small farm in south central Missouri, located near Earnie’s parents in West Plains. Cleo cared for the family, helped with farm chores, tended a large garden, and canned produce each summer. Due to Earnie’s failing health, the farm was sold in 1998, and Earnie and Cleo relocated to Carthage, Missouri, to be near their daughter. Earnie and Cleo were married 53 years until his death in 1999. Cleo continued to live independently in her duplex in Carthage for the next 23 years.

While in West Plains, Earnie and Cleo attended Hilltop Chapel Church where they often sang duets, with Cleo accompanying on the guitar. After moving to Carthage, they attended the First Church of the Nazarene. Cleo’s Christian friends have been such a blessing in her life. She cherished each one and prayed faithfully for them and her family members.

Cleo loved people and made friends wherever she went. She had an amazing memory and could recite songs and poems, remember names and birthdays, and share interesting life experiences. Although all of her siblings preceded her in death, she remained close to many of her nieces and nephews. She stayed in touch with family and friends, writing personal notes and sending up to 50 Christmas cards every year until she was 103, when writing became difficult.

Cleo had a wonderful sense of humor. She was an avid reader and enjoyed music, especially hymns and country/bluegrass. She played Skip-Bo and Solitaire, and worked word searches to keep her mind sharp, but was happiest when visiting with her neighbors, friends and family.

Cleo is survived by one son, Mike Warden (Sue Pittman) of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and daughter, Quetha Bassham (Richard), of Carthage, Missouri. One son, Marvin Warden (Idella), of Springfield, Missouri, preceded her in death.

Cleo was blessed with six grandchildren: Brooke Warden Deshler (Pat), Maple Grove, Minnesota; Chase Warden (Sloane), Vienna, Virginia; Dylan Warden (Bunnie), Springfield, Missouri; Branden Warden (Stefanie), Springfield, Missouri; Shea Bassham Twenter (Adam), Raymore, Missouri; and Aaron Bassham (Laine), Olathe, Kansas. She had fourteen great-grandchildren: Adam and Grant Deshler; Jack, Lachlan and Ashton Warden; Connor and Ella Warden; Walker and Lincoln Warden; Kahne, Graeme and Bodie Twenter; and Calvin and Declan Bassham. Cleo was “Grandma” to some, “Memaw or Nana Cleo” to others, and she held a special place in each of their hearts.

Cleo lived a simple life with few worldly possessions, but her wealth came from her relationships with her Savior, Jesus Christ, her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and hundreds of loving nieces, nephews and friends.

Funeral services will be held 10 am, Thursday, December 8, 2022, at the Carthage Nazarene Church, Carthage, Missouri. Pastor Dustin Ledford will officiate. The family will receive friends in the church foyer following the service. Graveside services will be held 10:30 am, Friday, December 9, 2022, at Oak Lawn Cemetery, West Plains, Missouri. Minister Ralph Finley will officiate. Memorial gifts are suggested to the Salvation Army or Carthage Crisis Center in care of Knell Mortuary. Online condolences may be expressed through Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Knell Mortuary.

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