Obituaries April 24th

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Gail Helen Drag
1950 – 2019

Gail Helen Drag, 68, of St Joseph, passed away Sunday, April 21, 2019 at Mosaic Life Care in St Joseph.

She was born July 8, 1950 in St. Joseph, Missouri daughter of Doris & Eugene Drag. She attended Benton High School.

Gail was preceded in death by her father, Eugene Drag, mother, Doris Wasson, son, Dale Knaebel, son, Jeffrey Johnson, daughter, Kimberly Johnson and sister, Angela Crockett.

She is survived by son, Jim Knaebel of Gower, daughter, Mary Stegall of St. Joseph, brother, Mark (Melissa) Drag of St. Joseph, sister, Toni (Rodney) Taylor of Bolckow, MO, sister, Mary (Richard) Rainez of St. Joseph, brother-in-law, Jim Crockett, 8 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at the Rupp Funeral Home. Ms. Drag has been cremated under the direction of the Rupp Funeral Home.


Christine Jeanette Montgomery
1949 – 2019

Christine Jeanette Montgomery 70, of Saint Joseph, Missouri passed away Saturday April 20, 2019.

She was born January 7, 1949 in St. Joseph, Missouri daughter of the late Gladys & Ivan Ball. She married Donald “Don” Montgomery on March 17, 1972, and he survives of the home. She graduated from Lafayette High School, spent 2 years at the Salvation Army Seminary college. She enjoyed puzzle books and spending time with her animals and pets, and she was a Pastor with The Salvation Army and a homemaker.

Christine was preceded in death by her parents, and a sister, Janice Helton.

Survivors include: husband, Don Montgomery, daughters, Faye Montgomery and Dawn (Walter) Collum all of the home, brothers, Robert Ball, Stewartsville, MO, Eddie (Doylene) Ball, sisters; Sharon (Frank) Phinney, and Debra (Mike) Pasley.

Memorial services Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Salvation Army. She has been cremated under the care and direction of the Rupp Funeral Home.


John Daniel Corcoran, Jr., Ph.D., M.B.A.
1940  –  2019

Dr. John Daniel Corcoran, Jr., Ph.D., M.B.A., passed away Saturday, March 24, 2019 at Bethesda Home Care Center in Cookeville, Tennessee.

He was born April 26, 1940 to John Daniel Corcoran, Sr. and Emma Louise Vienhage. He was educated in St. Joseph, Missouri at The Cathedral Elementary School and Christian Brothers High School, Class of 1958. Class Valedictorian, Senior Class Treasurer, and Aerie Yearbook Editor. He was awarded a four-year scholarship to attend St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated in May 1962 with a B.S. in Chemistry. He then went to The University of Wisconsin – Madison where he completed a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in January 1967. In May 1980 he was awarded an Executive Masters in Business Administration from The Carlton School of Business, University of Minnesota. At that time fewer than one thousand persons held both a Ph.D. degree in a physical science and an M.B.A.

Dr. Corcoran began his research career at General Mills, Inc., Golden Valley, Minnesota from 1967 to 1976 where his interest was in the development of new food additives. He then studied ultraviolet curable coatings at the Adhesives, Sealants and Coating Division of 3M Company at 3M’s Research Center in Maplewood, Minnesota. He accepted an offer in 1980 from Ethyl Corporation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to lead a Research & Commercial Development team that obtained one of the first approvals by the US Environmental Protection Agency under their newly established Toxic Substances Control Act for the successful commercialization of a new polyurethane chemical. In 1993 he moved to Orangeburg, South Carolina and supervised the Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance Department of Ethyl’s Albemarle Corporation. Together with a specialty team he formed, they obtained approval from the US Food & Drug Administration in 1997 for Propofol, the most widely used pharmaceutical anesthetic. After retirement in 2005, he and his wife moved to Cookeville, Tennessee to be closer to his daughter and her family.

Dr. Corcoran was an emeritus member of the American Chemical Society with more than 50 years of service. The Rotary Club of Orangeburg, South Carolina in 2006 selected him as a Paul Harris Fellow. From 1994 to 1998, he was a member of the Sertoma International’s chapter in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Cookeville, Tennessee.

He married Mary Denise Johnson on June 24, 1967 in her hometown of Polson, Montana, the first couple to be married at the new Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. They met in June 1965 when they were both students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They were blessed with a son, John Michael in and a daughter, Carol Louise. He and his wife, Mary, enjoyed travel, especially their visit to the historical and religious sites in Israel in 1993 and ten years later to find their ancestors’ birthplaces in Austria, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland, and Germany. Dr. Corcoran traced his genealogy to a maternal fifth great-grandfather, Thomas Gordon, Sr., who fought in General Washington’s Virginia Continental Army and survived the 1787-1788 winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; he is related to Archbishop Daniel McGettigan, who was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ireland from 1873 until 1887.

Dr. Corcoran is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mary Johnson Corcoran of Cookeville, TN; son John Michael Corcoran (Dianne Wilkinson) of Cranston, Rhode Island; daughter Carol Louise Lynam (Mark Lynam) of Cookeville, TN; granddaughters Enid, Mathilda, and Thora Corcoran and Bridget and Clara Lynam; his stepbrothers and sisters: David Carroll (Rita Lager) of Maitland, Missouri; Jane Carroll England (John) of Blue Springs, Missouri; Barbara Carroll Nielson (Ed Nielson) of Maryville, Missouri; Joe Carroll (Roberta) of Platte City, Missouri.


Wilberta E. Smith
1919 – 2019

Wilberta E. Smith, 99, Tempe, AZ, passed away on April 17, 2019 a few days away from her 100th birthday.

She began life in Mound City, Missouri at her Grandparents (Brown) home on May 14, 1919. Soon after she moved to the farm near Fairfax, Missouri with parents Wilber and Minnie Means. In 1921 her sister Ann joined the family, and all worked hard to keep things going during the depression years. Wilberta went to College in Maryville, Missouri and received a teaching degree. She was a lifetime member of Tri Sigma sorority. Later she attended Tarkio College and Arizona State University for advanced degrees. She began teaching in country schools where she arrived early to get the fire going to warm the classroom. She then taught in Rockport and Tarkio, Mo.

She met her husband Maurice Smith thru a mutual college friend, and they married in 1943 and enjoyed 37 years of marriage until his death in 1980. In 1945, they moved to Joplin and in August of 1947 they moved to Tempe, AZ. near his sister, Helen.

Wilberta lived in the same house for 61 years. Each summer the family returned to Missouri to work on the farm until 1975. She enjoyed teaching and resumed her career in 1955. She taught on the Indian reservation as well as many years at Mitchell School and then Thew. She served as a supervising teacher for student teachers as they prepared to begin their own careers.

Wilberta and Maurice traveled in the U.S and South America having fun visiting family, friends and exploring new places. After her husband’s death she continued traveling the world with family and friends. When at home, they loved playing bridge with friends. After her husband passed, she played with a group of ladies for over 30 years.
She was a longtime member of the Congregational Church of Tempe. She and her husband were very involved in the church on many levels. She was also a member of the Tempe Lion’s Club for years and served as an officer. She held the record for selling the most roses year after year for their annual fundraiser.

She was a wonderful, caring and kind individual who was always willing to help and had a positive outlook on life. She was a great role model. Her family will forever miss her homemade chicken and noodles, biscuits and many other specialties. She was an excellent cook who prepared everything to perfection.

She is survived by her sons C.W. (Jan), Robert (Kwang), grandchildren Kami Fockler (Jack), Marci Leith (Larry) and Robert Smith II, great grandchildren Morgan, Zach, and Adam Fockler, Cooper, Senna, Mika and Kaia Leith, niece Donna Ball and great niece Tiffany Miller and many other beloved family members.

Our family would like to express its deepest gratitude to her neighbors (especially Diane and David) as well as the Keith and Mack families for all their help and support over the years. In addition, we would like to thank Robert and Kwang for providing daily loving care for mom in her last two years.

Farewell Services 11:00 A.M. Friday, May 3, 2019, Sharps Grove Church, Craig, Missouri. Interment Tharp Cemetery. Donations can be made to Tempe Meals on Wheels where she was a driver for many years as well as a recipient in the last few years.


David “Dave” B. Sharpe.
1949 – 2019

David “Dave” B. Sharpe, 69, St. Joseph, Missouri, passed away Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

He born in New York City, New York on November 1, 1949. Dave was the son of William and Frances Sharpe. He spent most of his childhood and all of his adulthood in St. Joseph, Missouri. When Dave was diagnosed with cancer, he resided with his brother, Dennis Sharpe and his wife, Susan, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri where he remained until the time of his death on April 16, 2019. Dave graduated from Central High School in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1969. He spent most of his life working in janitorial services. He was known as a hard worker and took great pride in doing his jobs. Dave enjoyed working with his hands and possessed numerous skills. Dave was an artist and loved to paint landscapes with acrylics. He loved cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles, western movies, nature and helping others. He had a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody. Dave always put others before himself. Our world has lost a wonderful, kind man and our Lord, Jesus Christ has gained another angel.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley; father, William G. Sharpe; and great-nephew.

Survivors include mother, Frances Sharpe, Platte City, Missouri; son, Justin Montgomery, St. Joseph, Missouri; step-daughter, Lisa Dallen (Ted); three siblings, Dennis Sharpe (Susan), Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Kim Nichols (Steve), Platte City, Missouri, Kevin Sharpe (Julie), Carver, Minnesota; two step-grandchildren; two nephews; three nieces; six great-nieces and nephews; and one step great-grandchild.

Farewell Services 1:00 P.M. Friday, May 17, 2019, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. Inurnment Memorial Park Cemetery. Online guest book and obituary at


R. Philip Acuff, M.D.
1931 – 2019

R. Philip Acuff, M.D., 87, St. Joseph, Missouri, passed away Monday, April 22, 2019.

He was born November 1, 1931 in Columbia, Missouri. Dr. Acuff married Diane Davis July 19, 1955. She preceded him in death November 7, 2015. He graduated from Hickman High School where he was student body president. Dr. Acuff attended University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Master’s Degree in Medicine in 1955. He then earned his Medical Degree in 1957. Dr. Acuff completed his residency training in Radiology in San Antonio, Texas, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Denver, Colorado. He then moved to St. Joseph in 1969 and joined the radiology practice of Dr. Joseph Fisher. In addition to his office practice he worked for Methodist Hospital and Sisters of St. Joseph Hospital as well as other surrounding hospitals. He obtained his private pilots license and flew to many surrounding hospitals to serve. Dr. Acuff was a member of the U.S. Army Medical Corps where he served his residency.
He was long-time member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Greater St. Joseph. Dr. Acuff and his wife, Diane, endowed a professorship in medical research at the School of Medicine of University of Missouri, Columbia and in 1995 dedicated the Acuff Auditorium, also at the School of Medicine University of Missouri, Columbia. Along with their son, Michael, they also established the Acuff handicapped-accessible duck blind at the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area in Boone County, Missouri.

Dr. Acuff was a member of the Boy Scouts of America, where he attained the rank of Life. He was also a member of Beta Theta Pi Social Fraternity, University of Missouri Alumni Association, Buchanan County Medical Society, Missouri Wildlife Federation, lifetime member of Ducks Unlimited and inductee of the Waterfowlers Hall of Fame, Mound City, Missouri. Dr. Acuff was also past president of the Benton Club. As an adult he was active in Troop 47 and on the Council Level and achieved the rank of Chieffain in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. Dr. Acuff was certified in scuba diving, which he enjoyed with his wife. He was an avid outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman. Dr. Acuff was a loving husband, father and grandfather.

He was also preceded in death by his parents, Robert Lee and Ida (Cohen) Acuff; and son, Robert Philip Acuff, Jr.

Survivors include son, Michael E. Acuff, M.D. (Milly), Columbia, Missouri; grandchildren, Ruth Acuff Mueller, Abigail Diane Acuff, Mary Acuff Leibovich, Robert Davis Acuff, Silas Johnathan Acuff, Nelson Davis Acuff, Susan Danielle Acuff and Sarah Catherine Acuff; six great-grandsons; and two great-granddaughters.

Farewell Services 1:00 P.M. Friday, May 10, 2019, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. Inurnment Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will gather with friends 11:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Friday, May 10, 2019, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. Flowers are appreciated and for those wishing to make a contribution, the family requests they be made to the donor’s choice. Online guest book and obituary at