County mourns official's death; Deputy recorder unexpectedly dies at age 45
By Murray Bishoff
Officials at the Barry County Courthouse are in mourning this week following the sudden death of the deputy recorder of deeds, Lori Cantwell, at age 45.
Cantwell died of an apparent heart attack Sunday.
"Lori was a very fine, outstanding Christian woman," said Craig Williams, Barry County circuit court clerk and recorder of deeds. "She was a mother first. I was giving her boys a hard time today, calling them 'mama's boys.' But she was proud to be their momma."
Cantwell was a fixture at the Barry County Courthouse, having held her position for 20 years. She and assistant Cathy Arnold ran the two-person office, receiving official supervision from Williams, who has been in office since 2002.
"Lori was more of a sister to me than an employee," Williams said.
News of Cantwell's death reached Williams in a phone call from one of Cantwell's sons at 4:30 a.m. Sunday. The son heard his mother at 2:30 a.m. in apparent distress, but efforts to help her proved ineffective.
The recorder's office was closed out of respect for Cantwell on Monday. Janice Varner, county collector, gathered elected officials at the recorder's office. James Weaver, First Baptist Church pastor, joined them to say a prayer, after which the office was locked.
Williams and Arnold ran the office Tuesday and expect to do so again today. It will be closed on Thursday for the funeral.
Williams expected to make arrangements next week for future operations. Patrons can leave messages on the office answering machine.
Visitation for Cantwell will be held from 5-8 p.m. today at Fohn Funeral Home in Cassville. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the First Baptist Church's Family Life Center, located between the courthouse and the Judicial Center.