Cleona Rosalie McGuire, a member of “The Greatest Generation”, died peacefully on Thursday February 21, 2019. Her 101 years of life were distinguished by her service—to her country, her church, her community, and her family.
Cleona Rosalie was born November 29, 1917 in Bryant Illinois to Herbert and Daisy (Boswell) Willcoxen. She graduated from Canton Illinois High School in 1936 and from Olivet Nazarene College, Bourbonnais Illinois, in 1940 with double majors in French and English. She was an elementary teacher at the Wright School in Canton until World War Two broke out, when she joined the United States Navy as a member of the WAVES in 1942. She was stationed first in Memphis and later in Dallas and was trained in weather forecasting as an aerographer. She was honorably discharged at the end of World War Two. In 1947, she moved to Kansas City and, utilizing her Navy training, was employed at the National Weather Bureau, where she met her future husband, Edward Lawrence McGuire, a meteorologist. They were married February 25, 1950 and took up residence in Prairie Village Kansas where they raised two sons: Robert Edward and Brian William.
Mrs. McGuire was a member of Kansas City First Church of the Nazarene for over 70 years and actively contributed by teaching Sunday School and volunteering in the church library and church office; she was also an enthusiastic supporter of the World Missions effort. Her activism extended to her community. She taught herself the Braille alphabet and for 19 years was a volunteer transcriber of textbooks for blind students, receiving various meritorious achievement awards for her work. She enjoyed bird-watching, painting, crafts, and gardening. She quilted scores of blankets for pediatric patients through “Project Linus”. She was a member of the Audubon Society, the Santa Fe Trail Garden Club, Unit 9 WAVES National, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, the Society of Boonesborough, and Phi Delta Lambda of Olivet University.
Upon her husband’s retirement in 1975, they traveled the world. Mrs. McGuire was widowed on February 25, 1992, her wedding anniversary. She was also preceded in death by her sister Virginia Moore, her brothers Eldon Willcoxen and Murray Kent Willcoxen, and in 2008 by her eldest son Robert Edward. She is survived by her youngest son Brian William of Camarillo California and a half-sister Kathleen Willcoxen Wright of Jacksonville Texas.
Funeral service will be held at 4:00 pm Sunday, March 3, 2019 at Kansas City First Church of the Nazarene, 11811 State Line Road, Kansas City Missouri 64114. Visitation will be at 3:30 the same day before the service. Flowers are welcome. Funeral arrangements are through Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 11200 Metcalf, Overland Park Kansas, 66210. A graveside service in Rossville Kansas, Monday March 4, will be private.