Anthony “Tony” Joseph Calwhite, Jr., age 81, of Joplin, passed away peacefully while surrounded by family on Thursday, September 19, 2019 in Joplin. Mr. Calwhite, son of Anthony Calwhite, Sr., and Verna Calwhite Mikelionis, was born on November 30, 1937 in Gary, Indiana. Anthony grew up in Gary and graduated from Tolleston High School in 1955. After high school, he served his country honorably as a drill sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. He was recruited to play football at Southwest Missouri State in Springfield where he graduated with his bachelor’s in education and later graduated from the University of Missouri with his master’s in education. On June 22, 1963, he was united in marriage to Barbara Ann McDonald. Mr. Calwhite moved to Joplin and was a professor and defensive coordinator for Missouri Southern State University, where he was a coach for the 1972 National Championship Team. He made an incredible impact as a coach and mentor, and was referred to as “Coach” by his former players for the rest of his life. After coaching, Tony worked in real estate until his retirement. After his retirement, he enjoyed being a full-time grampa, swimming and teaching martial arts classes, watching the Cubs play baseball, and participating in the Joplin Marine Corps League where he served as Commandant for two years. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Joplin.
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Survivors include his wife, Barbara Calwhite, of Joplin; one daughter, Teresa Lynn Riddle, and her husband, Doug Riddle, of Bella Vista, AR; one brother, Larry Mikelionis, and his wife, Beverly, of McHenry, IL; one sister, Dorothy Irzyk, of Lafayette, IN; and two granddaughters, Kelsey Riddle, and her husband, Hari Vasudevan, of Austin, TX, and Morgan Riddle, of Austin, TX. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one infant son in 1969.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 11:00 am at the Mason-Woodard Mortuary in Joplin. The family will receive friends on Saturday starting at 10:00 am until service time at the mortuary.