As of Wednesday, 


Sara Southard

March 1, 1950 – March 1, 2022

Sara Frances Southard, age 72, of Carterville, passed away Tuesday March 1 at Mercy Hospital in Joplin. Sara was born on March 1, 1950, in Savannah, Georgia, to Frances Brown and was adopted by Don Brown at a young age. 

Sara was preceded in death by her mother, Frances; her brother Clay; and her grandson Isaac.

Sara is survived by her dad, Don; two brothers, Jimmy Brown and wife (and close friend) Pat, Angleton, Texas, and Mike, Angleton; one sister Peggy Townsend, Ocala Fla.; two children, Michelle Green, Springfield, and Kris Stapleton and wife Tracy, Alba; seven grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and several nieces and nephews, all of whom she loved dearly.  Family meant everything to Sara.  She loved spending her days outdoors barefooted in the dirt, and had a passion for fishing and gardening. Sara had a huge heart and would do anything for anyone, and she was always looking for ways to help in the community. If she had something that someone else needed, she would be the first to give it up even if it meant she went without.  Sara is going to be terribly missed by everyone who knew her.

At Sara’s request, there will be no funeral. A celebration of life will be planned for this summer and posted on her Facebook page. Arrangements are under the direction of Simpson Funeral Home.


Brian Usher

Oct. 31, 1964 – Feb. 22, 2022

Brian Christopher Usher, of Webb City, passed from this life on Feb. 22 at the age of 57 in Joplin. He was born to Francis E. (Bud) and Donna Usher on Oct. 31, 1964, in Pittsburg, Kan. From an early age, in the neighborhoods of Pittsburg, he formed lifelong friendships with his best pals, Pete Carpino, Brian Cussimanio, Sean Kelly, Rich Bennett, George Radell and many others. Together, they experienced countless shenanigans and adventures. These friendships and adventures continued throughout adulthood, in the form of yearly “guys” fishing trips, lake time, and just being together as much as they could.

Brian attended Colgan High School in Pittsburg, and upon graduation in 1983 entered the U.S. Armed Forces serving our country in the Army. After completing boot camp in Fort Benning, Ga., as an MP, he was stationed at Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, as a supply specialist for Apache helicopters for 18 months, then transferred to Colorado Springs, Colo. After an honorable discharge in 1987, Brian returned to Pittsburg, where a daughter, Cassie, entered his life. He loved and admired his father Bud, and resolved to follow in Bud’s footsteps toward a career in pharmacy. He attended Pittsburg State University for three years, focusing on pre-pharmacy curriculum, then moved on to the prestigious Kansas University School of Pharmacy, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Brian built a very successful career and was licensed in the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

On July 17, 2010, Brian hit the self-described “jackpot,” marrying the love of his life, Angie, and gaining his bonus son Zach. The new family settled in Webb City, and they have experienced 12 happy years building their lives together. They traveled far and wide, to the tops of the Grand Teton mountains to the warm waters of Mexico. Family outings to Grand Lake on the boat were frequent. Brian and Angie, also a pharmacist, lovingly supported each other in their careers. Brian loved and raised Zach as his own son. He supported Zach in all of his sporting events, and he took an active role helping Zach with school projects and homework. Brian loved all of Angie’s family and made a point to include them at the lake, golfing and memorable trips.

Outside of family, Brian enjoyed collecting pharmacy items from the past, often tied to his father Bud’s pharmacy career. Brian loved golfing; experiencing so many courses around the country with his friends. Shangri-La at Grand Lake and Crestwood Country Club in Pittsburg, KS were special places to Brian. He shared his lake home and condo with his many friends and family. He was also a landowner in Rush County, Kan.

Brian’s enduring quality is that of selfless service and caring of others. This service was not only evident in the daily activities of his career, but also in his private life. He helped strangers when traveling, often providing cash to those in need. He supported the KU School of Pharmacy throughout his career. Family and friends were priorities for Brian and they could count on him for whatever was needed. Sometimes, those priorities were shown in a form such as meeting Angie’s family for the first time and making sure they had a great time on the lake (despite losing his golf cart in the lake earlier that day). Other times, those priorities were simply demonstrated by asking about a friend’s child, regardless of his own personal situation, as he did in the days leading to his passing when friends would call. Jesus teaches us to care for others as Brian did throughout his adult life, and this is the lasting legacy he leaves.

Brian was preceded in death by his father Bud and brother Michael. He is survived by his loving wife Angie and stepson Zach, of Webb City; daughter Cassie Quick and family, Bentonville, Ark.; his mother Donna; and sisters Dina Usher and Kathy Brown and family of Webb City. His extended family of Darell and Barb Janasek, Munden, Kan., and Clayton and Donna Janasek, nephew Cory and niece Ashlyn, Independence, Kan., will love and cherish Brian’s memory forever. Many, many, close friends will fondly remember Brian and all the good times they shared. Brian leaves this world a better place, because he was here.

Contributions may be made to the Brian C. Usher Memorial Foundation toward medical research. Arrangements are under the direction of Mason Woodard Mortuary.


Karolyn Yocum

Oct. 19, 1940 – Feb. 23, 2022

Karolyn L. Yocum, 81, of Joplin, died at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Wednesday night, Feb. 23, with her two daughters by her side.  

Karolyn was born in Anderson, at home, on Oct. 19, 1940, to Orvis L. Statz and Louise (Bachler) Statz. She was the oldest of three sisters. Her father was a farmer and a dairyman. Her mother was an elementary school teacher.  

Karolyn grew up on the family farm in Anderson. She was a farm girl, raising milk cows and participating in 4-H. She was known locally as a very talented and powerful singer. In her youth, she sang many solos and performed with local musicians, like Dabbs Greer.  

Karolyn graduated from Anderson High School in 1958. She attended Pittsburg State University, graduating in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in education. She married (divorced in 1984) Gale R. Yocum on June 24, 1962, in Anderson.

Karolyn taught her first years of high school in Arma, Kan., as an English and theater arts teacher, then at the University High at Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg. She received her master’s of science in teaching in 1966 from Pittsburg State University. In 1975, she received her education specialist degree in classroom teaching from the University of Central Missouri and Ph.D. in speech communication education in 1980 from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. She continuously taught high school, later moving to university-level teaching and becoming a professor. Karolyn retired from Missouri Southern State University in 2009 and spent the next 13 years focusing on her new title, Grandma.

She is survived by her sister, Darlene Statz, of Anderson; a daughter, Melisande Statz-Hill and her husband Benjamin Hill, Lawrence, Kan.; a daughter, Monet Fischer and her husband Michael Fischer, Jenks, Okla.; five grandchildren, Donovan Hill (18), Conrad Hill (13), Dylan Fischer (16), Zachary Fischer (14), and Grayson Fischer (13).  

She was preceded in death by her parents, Orvis and Louise Statz, and her youngest sister, Mary Jean Statz.  

Visitation and the funeral service were held Wednesday at Simpson Funeral Home, with Pastor Sean Farver officiating. A graveside service followed in Anderson Cemetery. Later the same day, the family received friends at The Mansion/Alumni Center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.

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