Bob Mitchell: Yarnall, Williamson enjoyed what they did

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

About six weeks ago, I realized it had been some time since there had been a visit with a couple of friends, Randy Yarnall and Kelley Williamson.

So, with that in mind, I went to their favorite haunt, Cr-ose Restaurant on Main Street, and sure enough, they were at their posts at the community round table in the corner of the facility.

These two were always after me to once again become more involved in Cassville’s processes, this particular time even ragging me toward becoming part of city government. Their instance progressed as time went on into the conversation. Finally, to squash any such ideas, I told them absolutely that what they were proposing just wasn’t going to happen. My reason to them was, “Neither of you live in the city limits, resulting in your inability to vote for me!” This quieted them down and we turned to other subjects.

This included to their absolute love of weather chasing, with stories abounding from their exploits at many regions of the country, each instance being as interesting as the previous.

Needless to say, all that has been spoken, the thoughts that have come to mind since their untimely deaths on a Texas plain, doing their thing chasing tornados, will go toward both Randy and Kelley remaining in the memories of this community for many years to come.

Kelley Williamson

This was probably one of the most versatile individuals in our community, having tried his hand as a professional fisherman, quick stop operator, working as a rodeo clown, a jeweler, manufacturing jeweler, poultry grower, stockman and then chasing storms. And there may have been more.

His family roots went way back into the history of this community with ties to both the Williamson and Dilbeck families.

Randy Yarnall

One thing Randy and I just barely touched in our conversations was politics, we were too far apart to find any agreement. We did however, agree on concerns for Cassville’s future, we both had a deep love for Cassville athletics, as he held the title for the football promotion pickup.

Randy took serious his post as road commissioner, quite often a thankless job that gathers some criticism. He had served the county as a deputy sheriff, was a talented penning horse trainer, and competed throughout the Midwest, carrying Cassville’s colors wherever he went.

With his family he shared poultry and livestock operations.

Both will be missed

Their departure from the community leaves a void that might go unfilled for sometime, if there is a replacement of their equal to come along, Cassville will be the better for this happening.

Hall of Fame honor

Someone recently asked what my comment was going to be on the recent presentation of my recent induction into Missouri Southern’s Regional Media Hall of Fame. Here it is!

This recognition, for the newspaper division was much appreciated, and the Joplin university’s media department went all out in the presentation with photos, videos, verbal recognitions and a fine banquet. A radio career and a legend rounded out the honors list.

I related to the group that the recognition of the Cassville Democrat and my career was also a spotlight on this community, which had obviously benefitted from some of the progress that was made through the newspaper. To the students present, I related that contacts made through the newspaper were responsible for some of the successes made through my 53-year career, something for them to remember while serving in their journalism careers.

Right here, it’s only fitting to reiterate these successes were not a one-man-show. Credit will always go forth to some departed and some living persons who were deeply involved. The late attorney Joe Ellis was always at hand, as was Fred Meador who constantly mentored me to become more involved. The late businessmen Carl Fanning, Charley Willis and Jay Hull always realized how projects were benefitting Cassville.

As for the living persons, Bill Easley was always a steadying force as vice-chairman of the Industrial Development Corporation, and my partner during some financial efforts within the business community. With all the above, add Herschel Stehlik and Jack Nickols to the list as dependable believers in the community. A former businessman who’s no longer in Cassville, John Anglum, was a steadfast booster.

Jacob Brower, Cassville Democrat publisher, introduced me at the ballroom gathering, turning my face blush with some of his antidotes, but he stopped short of making a pay raise as part of his offering!

My wife Sue and our daughter Shelley were at our table, as was Darlene Wierman, who began her career with the Cassville Democrat in 1970, and the Cassville Democrat’s Editor Kyle Troutman, as well as Jacob’s wife, Kara.

By the way, established by my great-grandfather Dr. John Ray in 1871, the Cassville Democrat is the oldest continuous business in Cassville!

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.

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