John David Whittington passed away December 29, 2022, with his family at his side. He was born August 27,1938, at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, MO. He was the son of Clarence Whittington and Thelma (McCauley) Whittington. In 1959, John married his childhood sweetheart, Novella Mae Pryer, and they enjoyed over 63 years of love together.
John was educated in the Ozark, MO Public Schools where many teachers, his church (Cassidy Methodist Church), and contemporaries helped form his character. He was a member of the Ozark High School class of 1956 and was an accomplished trumpet player and a member of the basketball and softball teams.
John graduated from Missouri State University in 1960. He was a charter member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity at MSU. In 1990, he received the “Outstanding Alumni” award from MSU. John served over 35 years as a Trustee on the MSU Foundation Board and as its President in 1988. He also has served on the Advisory Committee for the College of Business Administration and as President of the MSU Athletic Advisory Board. He received his MBA Degree from Drury University in 1966.
John had a most interesting and rewarding business career. Early on in his career he was employed by the Frisco Railway Company and Dayco Corporation. He was Silver Dollar City’s first Personnel Director in 1970 and later was employed by Busch Entertainment Corporation in St. Louis. He began his business and marketing consulting career in the late 1970’s. His clients included both domestic and international companies. He was involved in the planning and marketing of the 1982, 1984 and 1986 World’s Fairs and consulted in the planning, marketing and promotional areas for many leisure time and entertainment companies. He worked with many companies in product marketing in development of product sales opportunities. During the latter part of his career, John was successful in obtaining major investment funding for numerous projects.
John was a long-time member of King’s Way United Methodist Church, serving on several committees including Chairman of both the Finance and Staff Parish Relations Committees. His military obligation included being a proud member of the 35th Infantry Division Band. John’s main interest was any activity with his family, traveling within the United States and to many countries, including on many cruises, with Novella. He was a faithful supporter and fan of the MSU Basketball Bears, Lady Bears, Baseball Bears and Football Bears.
He believed in giving back to the community and served on many boards, several on which he served as president or chairman during his tenure. Board memberships included the Springfield Symphony, Springfield Community Center, Ozark Empire Fair, Ozark Marketing Council, MSU Foundation and MSU Athletic Advisory Board, Springfield City Utilities, Springfield City Utilities Advisory Council, Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Springfield/Branson National Airport, Missouri Writer’s Hall of Fame, Originating Chairman of Springfield’s Festival of Lights Celebration, Springfield Sports Hall of Fame, Mercy Hospital Foundation, CASA and the MSU Papa Bears.
John is survived by his son Mark Whittington, St. Petersburg, FL. As well as a sister-in-law, Gerry Pryer, Nixa, MO., and several special nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, great, great-nieces and nephews, numerous cousins, other relatives and many great friends.
He was preceded in death by his loving and devoted wife Novella (Pryer) Whittington and son Jeff Whittington, as well as his parents, a brother Jack Whittington, sisters-in-law, Virginia Whittington and Ann Pryer and brothers-in-law, Wilbur Pryer and Wilford Pryer.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M., January 7, 2023, at King's Way United Methodist Church, 2401 S. Lone Pine, Springfield, under direction of Adams Funeral Home, Ozark, MO. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 5:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M., January 6, 2023. Burial will be in the Richwood Cemetery off Fremont Road between Ozark and Nixa, Missouri.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the John and Novella Whittington Endowment Fund, Missouri State University Foundation, 300 South Jefferson Avenue, Springfield, MO 65806. Online condolences may be made to www.adamsfuneralhome.com.