Donald Gene Kester

(September 11th, 1936 - October 24th, 2017)

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     Donald Gene Kester, 81 of Ozark, Missouri passed away Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in his home with his loving family by his side. He was born September 11, 1936 at Smallett, MO to Cecil Raymond and Hazel (Nave) Kester. On October 1956 he met the love of his life, Betsy Wakeley and almost a year later they were united in marriage at Forsyth, MO. Donald attended the rural Walnut Grove Schoolhouse, south of Ava, and then attended Ava High School. Later, Donald Gene and Betsy lived and worked in Wichita, KS where they began starting their family. In September of 1959, they returned to the McClurg community, near Ava, to be farmers. A few years later in 1962, Donald Gene moved his family to Springfield and he began a career with Kraft Foods. After 30 years as a dedicated employee he retired from Kraft Foods in 1992. Donald Gene (aka Spanky) enjoyed many years camping and motorcycle riding. He also was talented at wheeling and dealing most anything on wheels and enjoyed telling tall tales. Donald Gene was competitive at playing cards and Pitch especially when he could (shoot the moon) and generally he and his lucky partner would win. Donald Gene is survived by his wife, Betsy; their four children, Danny Kester of Springfield, Laura Gay Bowles and husband Ed of Ozark, Linda Rogers and husband Kenny of Nixa and Meri Fultz and husband Scott of Nashville,TN. Four grandchildren, Brandon James Kester of Walnut Creek, CA, Jordan Bowles of Ozark, Logan Bowles of Springfield and Sara Bowles of Ozark. Two great-grandchildren, Evan James Kester and Owen Joseph Bowles both of Springfield. Donald Gene was preceded in death by his parents and brother Dwain in 2015. Per his request, no funeral services are planned but a celebration of his life will be held on Sunday, November, 12, 2017 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM at the Eagles Lodge 603 W. Farm Road 182 (Plainview Road) Springfield, Missouri 65810. Entertainment, food and drinks will be provided. Donald Gene’s family would like to think Dr. Ellis, Dr. Bentley, Dr. True, Dr. Propst, Dr. Trinca and staff members for their kind and compassionate care during the past three years. Sincere thanks is also extended to Phoenix Hospice and Phoenix Home Care for the wonderful care Donald Gene received. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to Phoenix Hospice or charity of your choice. Arrangements under the care and direction of Barnes Family Funeral Home, Ozark, Missouri. On line condolences may be shared at

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Over the past 20 years we have steadily grown to become one of the leading funeral service providers in the area. In 1998 we became the newest, largest and most modern funeral home in Christian County. We take great pride in being home owned, family operated and honored to serve our community.

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Ozark, MO 65721




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