Donor Honors Mother and Sister with Scholarship

John Millemon — Photo courtesy of DCCCD, Photographer Kathy Tran

John Millemon (’73, ’80) established an endowed scholarship in 2016 in memory of his mother, Claire (Swingle) Millemon (’44), and sister, Mary Jane (Millemon) Merrill (’68).

In 1931, Claire graduated from Mercer High School and her parents sold their farm for gold, which, according to family lore, still had dirt on it. They moved their family 60 miles east to buy a farm near Kirksville so that Claire and her siblings could attend the University.

When Claire had earned enough credit hours, she began teaching in small schools in northeast Missouri, including many one-room schoolhouses. She continued her education in the summers and received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in mathematics in 1944. Her children, Mary Jane and John, followed in their mother’s footsteps and enrolled in the education program at Truman.

Mary Jane earned a B.S.E. in elementary education in 1968 and taught for more than 40 years, primarily in Merriam, Kan.

John earned a B.S.E. in geography/social studies in 1973 and a master’s degree in counseling in 1980. After working in banking, finance and human development, he taught and mentored students at the Dallas County Community College District in Texas for many years. He retired in 2015 as the assistant dean of the Learning Center of Richland College and program facilitator for the Center for Renewal and Wholeness in Higher Education.

Claire and Mary Jane passed away in 2002 and 2010, respectively. John established the Claire Swingle Millemon and Mary Jane Millemon Merrill Memorial Endowed Scholarship in loving memory of his mother and sister and the impact they had on his life and that of countless young students throughout the course of their careers.

The inaugural recipient of the scholarship is Hannah Smith, a junior from O’Fallon, Mo., majoring in mathematics and education. She intends to teach high school math.

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