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Donna Stearns Passes Away

Donna Stearns, 65, of Fayette, Mo., passed away Wednesday evening, Aug. 7, 2013, at her daughter’s home in Ashland.

Donna Kay Stearns was born on Sept. 2, 1947, in Wichita, Kan., to James and Imogene (Newcomer) Wiley. She graduated from Maine East Township High School in Park Ridge, Ill., in 1965. She went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Missouri. She married Sonny Stearns on Sept. 2, 1992, and they resided in Fayette, Mo.

Mrs. Stearns had been a vital part of the College of Veterinary Medicine Dean’s Office staff since June of 2003 working for the Office of Research and Postgraduate Studies. She joined us as a Grants and Contract Specialist and three years later was elevated to the position of Grants and Contracts Administrator. She excelled in her role assisting investigators with fiscal management of their grants and as the College’s grants and contracts liaison with other University departments and funding sponsors. She also contributed her time and talents to raise the Phi Zeta Program and Phi Zeta Annual Research Day to the level of excellence they have achieved at the CVM. Her organizational abilities, thorough knowledge of grant policies and procedures and helpful nature were among the traits that earned her the College’s 2009 Dean’s Impact Award for outstanding and sustained impact on the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Her career with MU began in 1990. Prior to joining the CVM, she was employed at the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center and the School of Medicine. Mrs. Stearns also served on the MU Staff Advisory Council. She served a three-year term beginning in 1993, and was serving a second three-year-term that commenced in 2011 alongside her daughter, Pam Cooper, who is employed at the Bond Life Sciences Center. She chaired the Council’s Staff Development Awards Committee for 12 years, most recently in 2011. She was elected vice-chair of the Staff Advisory Council in 2012, a position she held at the time of her passing.

She was also an active member of Linn Memorial United Methodist Church in Fayette.

Survivors include her husband, Sonny, of the home, one son, Michael (Jamie) Taylor of Lee’s Summit, Mo., one daughter, Pam (Dale) Cooper of Ashland, stepson, Calvin (Lindsey) Stearns of Marceline, Mo., brother, James Wiley of Fayette, sister, Laurel McNamara of Parkridge, Ill., 13 grandchildren, Emma, Rachel, Ayden, Jeshua, Austin, Shayla, Aaron, Tristan, Brayden, Kaylee, Barrett, Baylor and Brenner. She was preceded in death by both parents.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m., Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, at the Friemonth-Freese Funeral Home in Fayette, Mo., with a visitation Sunday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to Linn Memorial United Methodist Church or University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine Gentle Doctor Benefit in care of Friemonth-Freese Funeral Service, 174 Hwy. 5 and 240 N., Fayette, Mo., 65248.

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Last Update: February 29, 2012