A Passion for Education, History, and Southeast Missouri State
Soon after her graduation from Dexter High School in 1956, Yvonne Gary married Bob Keathley. As the years passed, the couple were soon busy raising their four children.When their boys were all in school, however,Yvonne became interested in pursuing a college degree and started classes at Three Rivers Community College near her home. She then transferred to Southeast and graduated with a bachelor's degree in education in 1976.
Yvonne embarked on a teaching career that spanned two decades in the junior high and high school in Bernie,Missouri. She touched the lives of many students during her 20 years of teaching language arts and communications. Clearly, she also set a terrific example for her own children, because each of the Keathley children went on to achieve their own college degrees, including two from Southeast.
Upon her retirement in 1998, the family wanted to honor Yvonne for her years of teaching and community service. Her sons felt the best way to do this was to establish a scholarship at Southeast Missouri State University.Through this endowment, future generations of Southeast Missouri young people will be able to attain their college degrees at Southeast.
Meanwhile, Bob Keathley, along with his four sons, operated the family business until the business was sold. Bob was the third generation of Keathleys to own and operate the IXL Group, manufacturing wood turnings throughout Southeast Missouri.
In retirement, Bob has pursued his passion for history by commissioning the translation of a fascinating historical account of the very earliest time in America by a German history professor, who traveled in the new country in the late 1700s. Providing the necessary resources, he worked with the Southeast Missouri State University Press to publish 1700s in America in 2005.
Through this book, Bob Keathley has left his own legacy in Bernie and at Southeast Missouri State in a unique way. Bob has devoted all of the proceeds from this book to endow a second Keathley scholarship at Southeast.This scholarship will provide much-need financial support to teachers in the Bernie School District who are working toward furthering their education through a graduate degree at Southeast.
The Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award was presented to this couple in October 2006, recognizing their many achievements and service to the University. They have each set an example, not only by their financial generosity, but also by giving of their time, talents and energy.