Southeast regent, community advocate Kimberly Mothershead dies at 53

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Kimberly Mothershead

Described as a "person of joy" by a friend, Kimberly Mothershead left a legacy of service to the community when she passed away Monday after a battle with cancer. She was 53.

"Anytime you were with her the world would be lighter and brighter," said Jane Stacy, director emerita of alumni services at Southeast Missouri State University. Stacy said she knew Mothershead as a student at Southeast and later in their Sunday school class.

Southeast president Dr. Ken Dobbins said Mothershead was "a wonderful person, excellent leader and great friend."

Mothershead was on the university's board of regents during a busy and critical time, Dobbins said. Southeast underwent a number of building projects, began extension campuses in Sikeston, Mo., Perryville, Mo., and Kennett, Mo., began the River Campus and experienced a growth in enrollment while she served. Dobbins said Southeast continues to benefit from her leadership.

"When you look at her projects and the impact she had on the university, the area, community and family, she left a legacy," Dobbins said. "She has left the city and community a better place."

Mothershead's career spanned many fields. She taught special needs students in Bloomfield, Mo., Sikeston and Kelly school districts; co-owned Don Vance Ford in Versallies, Mo., and other companies; worked on Senate Bill 40, which distributed tax money to serve people with developmental and physical disabilities; and served on Southeast's board of regents for six years and was vice president of the board for two. Mothershead attended First Baptist Church of Jackson.

She also was very active in the Southeast Alumni Association and helped start the Women's Walk for Athletics to benefit the Redhawk Athletics Scholarship Fund. Aside from Southeast, Mothershead also worked with YELL, Youth Education Literacy and Learning, to get children's authors and illustrators to local schools; served on the board for the Safe House for Women; and worked with the United Way Grace's Reading Program and Read to Succeed.

"She was very much into giving any way she could and we were happy to have her," said Nancy Jernigan, director of the United Way of Southeast Missouri. "It was a privilege to know her and she will be greatly missed by any life she touched."

Mothershead was active in the American Cancer Society as a leader and advocate. She served as honorary chairwoman for the Cure for Cancer Gala and helped recruit sponsorships. She also supported other American Cancer Society events such as the Relay for Life and Pretty in Pink 5K Run and Walk.

Kelli Schenimann, community manager of development for the American Cancer Society, described Mothershead as "phenomenal."

"She was an inspiration to everyone she worked with, donors and survivors," Schenimann said. "She was always so positive."

"The intensity of her interest was such that in whatever she did, she was not content to be ordinary," Stacy said.

Mothershead leaves behind two sons, Russ and his wife Trisha, and Clay and his wife Tiffany; two daughters, Kathryn Sprengel and her husband Gregory, and Julie Mothershead; and a granddaughter, Amelia.

Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. today at the Southeast Missouri State University Wehking Alumni Center at 926 Broadway in Cape Girardeau.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Jackson. The Reverend Tommy Weems and Pam and Dr. Andy Pratt will officiate. Entombment will follow at Cape County Memorial Park and Mausoleum.

apicar@semissourian.com

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Pertinent address:

926 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

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