Richard Raymond Carr, age 89, passed away on Father’s Day Sunday, June 18, 2023 at his home in Warrensburg, MO.
The first full-time public relations director at what is now Pittsburg (KS) State University from 1960 to 1985, he retired as alumni editor at what is now the University of Central Missouri at Warrensburg, MO in 1999.
Richard was born on January 26, 1934 in Des Moines, IA, the only child of Raymond W. and Myra S. Carr. He and his wife Kathy met as students at Paseo High School in Kansas City, MO; they were married on January 9, 1954.
Richard is survived by his two children Rochelle Carr Needham (Gary) of Crested Butte, CO and Stephen T. Carr (Debbie) of Belton, MO; three grandchildren Amelia Rae Needham, Joshua Michael Carr (Katlyn) and Brenton Short; and two great-grandchildren Sebastian and Paige Needham.
Richard was a 1956 journalism graduate of Kansas State University, Manhattan, where he became a lifelong member of: Sigma Delta Chi, National Society of Professional Journalists, Kansas City Press Club, and Alpha Tau Omega National Social and Leadership Fraternity.
At graduation, Carr became news editor of the Pittsburg (KS) Morning Sun from 1956 to 1958 and was subsequently promoted to news editor of the then afternoon paper the Pittsburg Headlight from 1958 to 1960. He served at PSU from February 1, 1960 until February 1, 1985.
During his 25 years at PSU, Carr worked for five different presidents, promoted three university name changes, and saw two national football championships as well as the 1968 crowning of 1968 Miss America Debra Dene Barnes. Other highlights of his tenure included PSU’s 75th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee in 1978 as well as extensive faculty and student unrest in the 60s and 70s. He also founded and named PSU’s traditional annual homecoming run, the Gorilla Grind.
The Carrs moved to Branson, MO in 1985 where Kathy joined the faculty of the then School of the Ozarks. Richard worked for Great Southern Savings & Loan on the Branson strip and did public relations work for Tri-Lakes Community Theatre and 91.7 KSOZ-FM, the then national public radio station and its cable affiliate at School of the Ozarks. The Carrs later moved to Warrensburg in 1988.
The Carrs held active leadership roles in the Methodist Church in Pittsburg, Branson, and Warrensburg. Richard was commander of Mountjoy Commandery #29, a 32nd degree Mason, and Mirza Shrine editor in Pittsburg.
The Lions Club was an important part of Richard’s life in Warrensburg and he enjoyed many friends in the organization. His community service also included presidency of the Pittsburg and Branson Kiwanis Clubs. He served the Boy Scouts as a member of the Honorary Scouting Fraternity Mic-O-Say and, along with his wife, contributed regularly to a variety of library and educational campaigns in Pittsburg, Branson, and Warrensburg.
A middle-aged distance runner from 1969 to 1999, Carr ran seven official marathons in four states between 1972 and 1976. In 1989, he was awarded the Ozark Mountain Ridge Runners Around-the-World Trophy for accumulating a total of 28,000 documented miles; he ran that total up to 36,000 miles by 1999.
Richard’s wife of 53 years, Dr. Kathryn S. Carr, passed away in 2006. As professor and Literacy Center director at UCM from 1988 to 1999, she was an internationally-known scholar on picture books for tolerance and peace, continuing her research and presentations until her death at age 72. In addition to his wife and parents, Richard was preceded in death by his grandson Matthew Allan Carr.
A visitation is scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m. on Monday, June 26, 2023 at Sweeney-Phillips & Holdren Funeral Home in Warrensburg, MO. Graveside services will follow at Warrensburg Memorial Gardens.
The family suggests memorial contributions to the Carr Graduate Reading Scholarship at the University of Central Missouri or to the Warrensburg First United Methodist Church, which can be left in care of Sweeney-Phillips & Holdren Funeral Home.