Obituary: Cecelia 'Juanita' Greenwell Yates, 94, of Monroe City

Juanita Yates
Posted: Jul. 23, 2019 3:23 pm

Cecelia "Juanita" Greenwell Yates, 94, of Monroe City, passed away at 4:55 a.m. Sunday, July 21, 2019, at Monroe City Manor Care Center in Monroe City.

A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Friday, July 26, at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Monroe City, with Rev. Greg Oligschlaeger officiating and Rev Don Antweiler, Rev. George Kramer and Rev. Mike Quinn concelebrating. Deacons will be Mike Long and Chuck Lanham.

Burial will be at the Holy Rosary Cemetery in Monroe City.

A visitation will be held Thursday, July 25, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Monroe City, with a Rosary being led by the Daughters of Isabella beginning at 3:45 p.m. A parish scripture service will be held following the visitation at 8 p.m. Thursday. The family is being served by the James O'Donnell Life Celebration Home in Monroe City.

Juanita Yates was born Dec. 14, 1924, in Lakenan to Roy and Beatrice Bell Greenwell. She attended Greenwell Elementary School, Shelbina High School and Truman State University in Kirksville.

Juanita is survived by nine children, Anthony Yates (Nancy) of Monroe City, Joan Benson (Donnie) of Fenton, Alice Mayes (Terry) of Hannibal, Paul Yates (Kathy) of Eolia, Therese Long (Mike) of Monroe City, Kathy Kurz (Tim) of Frankford, Carolyn Spratt (Randy) of Philadelphia, Douglas Yates (Stephanie) of Mexico and Melanie Albus (Jeff) of Monroe City; 37 grandchildren; 82 great-grandchildren; four great-great grandchildren; one brother, Bernard Greenwell of Shelbina; and one son-in-law, Gary Yager. Also surviving are numerous nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces.

She was preceded in death by her husband, George Anthony Yates, in 1997; an infant son, Gregory John, in 1960; a daughter, Cordelia (Dede) Yager, in 2015; a granddaughter, Kimberly Yates, in 1971; her parents; Roy and Breatrice Greenwell; three sisters, Nellie Ann Lanham, Mary Bell Grant and Kathleen Hall; and one brother, George Joseph Greenwell.

Juanita was a well-known author and writer who worked for the Monroe City News for 20 years. She had six books published, contributed to numerous historical books and magazines, wrote a syndicated column that ran in several Missouri weeklies for over 20 years, and wrote for the Catholic Missourian for a number of years. She was named to three National and one International Writing Societies. Juanita was on the board and a presenter at the Mark Twain Writer's Workshop in Hannibal during its 10 years of existence; conducted writing workshops, in schools kindergarten through college and on an adult level, and was an inspirational speaker. 

In 1976 she was named Missouri Press Woman of the Year; in 1981, Missouri Press Woman of Achievement: 1982 Missouri Mother of the Year; and a runnerup to the National Mother of the Year. In 1985, Gov. John Ashcroft named the Yates family Missouri Family of the Year. She won hundreds of awards for her writing throughout her career, several on the national level.

Juanita served on the first Advisory Board of the Hannibal Regional Hospital and the Hospital Home Health Agency; was a member of the Monroe City Singers and Monroe City Arts Council. She volunteered at the Shiloh Ranch for abused and neglected children for a number of years. A charter member, Juanita served 20 years on the board of the Monroe City Sheltered Workshop. She had been active volunteer at the Monroe City Manor Care Center for many years.

Memorial contributions may be made to Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Monroe City, and\or Holy Rosary School, Monroe City.

Pallbearers are her sons-in-law, Gary Yager, Donnie Benson, Terry Mayes, Tim Kurz, Randy Spratt and Jeff Albus.

Online condolences may be made and video tribute may be viewed at



In Case You Missed It

Colin Brown and Riah Wigfall are Hannibal's new Tom and Becky
HANNIBAL | Colin Brown and Riah Wigfall learned they are Hannibal's official Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher during the Tom and Becky Pageant in Central Park at noon July 4.