Weary first recipient of David Whitmer award

93 years as community activist and still going strong

F.G. Weary, a U.S. Army veteran of the 90th infantry and 1st infantry of World War II, and recipient of five campaign Bronze Stars, and wearing his uniform jacket 70 years after the war ended, drove this two-tone brown and white 1959 Ford Fairlane Convertible in the 2015 Mushroom Festival Parade. (Photo by JoEllen Black/Richmond News)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

With nearly nearly a century of community service under his belt, Richmond native F. G. Weary III was selected as the first recipient of the David Whitmer Community Service Award.

Raised by parents who were active in the community, Weary has devoted most of his life quietly working behind the scenes to help make Richmond have a sense of community.

“He’s always been a part of Richmond,” said Linda Emley, who serves on both Ray County Historical Society and the Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation. These two organizations have established the David Whitmer Community Service Award and selected Weary under the recommendation of Emley.

The Weary legacy

Born on Aug. 17, 1924, Weary is the son of Franklin Grimm Weary II and his wife, Ruth, who came to Richmond in 1911 and opened a five and dime store. In 1915, the elder Weary began renting the Farris Opera House from then-owner James L. Farris to show the new motion pictures. Ruth operated the ticket window.

In a 2014 Richmond News interview with Weary, he said his mother was in charge of the theater’s concession stand, “and she operated it prudently.”

Weary attended Wentworth Military Academy and was listed as a private, first-year cadet in Company A of the R.O.T.C. in the academy’s 1943 yearbook.

That same year, Weary enlisted in the Army, serving in the 90th and 1st Infantry. He went overseas and fought in the Battle of the Bulge under Gen. George S. Patton. He later served in the Army of Occupation until 1946.

Just before he went overseas, Weary married Sarah Jane Denning on Aug. 17, 1944, in Caruthersville. After the war, he attended the University of Missouri, graduating in 1948.

In 1950, Weary and his wife built the HI-WAY 13 Drive-In in Henrietta with a 300-car capacity. In 1958, they opened the Highway 13 Bowl.

Weary’s business endeavors were just the tip of the iceberg of his community involvement.

The complete story is in the Friday, September 1, 2017 Richmond News.

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