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Mildred Leaver


1906 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Mildred Leaver Obituary
In celebration of her 108th birthday on June 10, 2014, Mildred Phillips Leaver enjoyed many cards and letters and her usual birthday cheesecake.  On June 23rd, she passed away peacefully in her sleep.  
Often celebrated as a dedicated and exceptional Missouri educator, Mildred spent over 60 years focused on the needs of children and teachers.  She was both an elementary teacher and principal and, after her retirement, she was a substitute teacher into her nineties.  She then began what she said may have been her most valuable contribution--volunteering three afternoons a week to teach reading to at-risk third graders.  
Active as a professional educator, she became President of both Missouri Classroom Teachers and the Missouri State Teachers Association.  She was State Director, National Education Association. 
After her retirement in 1971, Mildred gave hundred's of inspirational speeches to retired groups.  She became President of Missouri Retired Teachers Association and was State Director, National Retired Teachers Association during which she organized 52 MRTA chapters.  She was Missouri's delegate to the White House Conferences on Aging in 1979 and again in 1991, Senator and President pro tem, Silver Haired Legislature and Chairman, Governor's Council on Aging.  She successfully urged her legislative friends to pass many bills aiding retired citizens. Mildred often cited her father, a boy at the Wilson Creek Battle active into his nineties, whose motto was "always stand for what you believe."
Born in 1906, Mildred was the youngest of seven born to Clara and Marion Phillips.  She and her twin, Marian, grew up on a prosperous farm near Springfield, MO and drove their pony and buggy to the country school.  For months in 1919, they and their mother drove a horse and buggy on the dirt roads of Greene County urging neighbors to approve women's right to vote.  When the 19th amendment passed in 1920, Mildred  was a  freshman at Willard High School and very proud that her mother was the first woman to vote in their precinct.  The twins attended Springfield Teacher's College--a one building school that is now Southwest Missouri State University.  
After college, Mildred was a home economist for May Kelly Kitchens demonstrating the new electric stove in department stores in Kansas, Oklahoma,Texas and Missouri.  As the depression deepened, such advertisement ended.  Mildred's twin taught in Pacific, MO and, when one of the teachers married, Mildred was hired.  At the time, married woman were generally not allowed to teach children.  In 1934, she became a home economist for Union Electric in St. Louis.  
In 1936, she married Lawrence "Larry" Leaver, head of science in the St. Louis Public Schools. In 1940, after graduate school at the University of Illinois, they moved to Rolla, MO where Larry was a Professor of Physics at what was then the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy.  Mildred returned to teaching in 1948 and continued as teacher, principal, substitute teacher, story teller and volunteer until she moved to be with family in Atlanta in 2008.            
She is survived by daughter, Lari Murry and husband Don of St. George Island, FL and Atlanta; granddaughters, Alison Murry and Karen Murry Flynn and husband Dennis; and great-grandchildren Caroline and Sam Flynn.  
Mildred asked for a simple "family graveside gathering" as did Larry.  She wished gifts in her memory to be for " the donor's favorite organization that focuses on children."   She noted that family and friends often join in a celebration of life for the deceased.  She asked that her friends and family remember her joyful 100th birthday festivities as well as their participation together in many activities and events.  Mildred will rest next to Larry in the family plot in Springfield.
Published in The Rolla Daily News from July 2 to July 3, 2014 Published in The Rolla Daily News on July 3, 2014
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