Liz and Jack Poston - Centennial Alumni Spotlight

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Jan 5, 2023


Giving Back. People volunteer for many reasons. For some, it’s about “giving back” or “paying forward” for acts of kindness or opportunities they received. Some say it just feels good to volunteer. Others say it’s rewarding to see the impact for a cause they truly care about. Still, others derive satisfaction from maintaining a community’s quality of life where they live, work, and play. For others, it’s providing for those who are less fortunate or are facing a rough time in their lives. One thing is undeniable:  Mineral Area College alumni excel at volunteerism and giving back!

Committed to Community

Though Leadwood native John “Jack” Poston (MAC 1970-72) and Flat River native Elizabeth “Liz” Clark (MAC 1971-73) have been married for 41 years, Liz explains, “Jack and I met at MAC and had our first date. He invited me to a dance. No bells or whistles went off. And, we did not have another date for five years!” 

For Liz and Jack, the college was a familiar place for their family members long before they met. Like many other alumni, Flat River Junior College and Mineral Area College are a family tradition. Liz says, “My parents—Harold Clark and Dorothy Grayson—both attend FRJC. My father served on the first Board of Trustees for Mineral Area College. My two brothers, David and John Clark also attended. Our children--Sarah, John, Jr., and Ann Poston—all graduated with AA degrees before transferring to the University of Missouri.” Jack adds, “Three generations of my family attended. During WWII, Flat River Junior College allowed the top two academic students from local high schools to attend the college before graduation from their respective high schools. This was due to low enrollment—the men were off to war. My late mother, Dorothy Warner Poston, jumped at the chance to get a semester ahead. She left Bismarck High School to attend FRJC. When her family moved to Leadwood, she would catch a ride with the mail carrier early each morning to the Flat River Post Office, located up town near the railroad tracks at the time. She would then walk to the college campus—rain, snow, or sleet. To get home, she walked back to the post office to catch a ride with the mail carrier again. Earning her college degree so she could teach school was that important to her! My late sister, Vicki Poston, attend MAC 1969 -1971.”

Poston Family

Front row (left to right): Reuben Miller, Sarah Poston Miller, Elizabeth Poston, Sidney Miller, John (Jack) Poston, John Poston, Jr., Grant Poston; Back row: Donovan Miller, Christopher Weeks, Ann Poston Weeks, Jennifer Brown Poston.

After her MAC graduation, Liz planned to play in the Golden Eagles Marching Band at Southeast Missouri State University. She says, “To keep up on my clarinet skills, I enrolled in a band class. At the end of the first semester, Mr. O’Brien gave me a tenor saxophone and told me to learn how to play it over the Christmas break because the Jazz Band needed another saxophonist. The other tenor saxophone player was Mike Shannon who later went on to play professionally. Ironically, Mike didn’t read music very well, and he had me help him with the rhythms. Once he heard it, he had it and outplayed me!”

“Good grades really paid off for me,” recalls Liz. “I had a Trustee Scholarship to attend MAC, so I only had to pay for my books and for the private piano lessons I took from John Stanley. I was co-Valedictorian of the MAC Class of 1973, and graduated summa cum laude from SEMO.

After her 1975 SEMO graduation, Liz worked in Kansas City for the Social Security Administration. In 1977, she returned to the Flat River (now Park Hills) office as a Claims Representative and later served as a Field Representative and as Operations Supervisor. After multiple advancements, Liz finished her career as manager of three SSA offices. She retired in 2014 after 38 years with the Social Security Administration.

Pallo PostonPictured are three generations of FRJC/MAC graduates (left to right): Ann Poston (Class of 2008), Dorothy Pallo (class of 1941) and Elizabeth Poston (class of 1973).

“MAC was a bargain and great for me,” explains Jack. “I was able to work at the old Travelodge motel in Desloge while attending. I was from a small high school. What students from the large local high schools took for granted, was a new world to me. I never attended a school dance until MAC–my high school did not allow dances. The MAC gym was huge compared to my high school gym. I had fly casting, archery, and bowling as P.E. classes. Wow! What memories! I remember the old metal college building burned, and our classes were at night at Farmington High School. It was exciting when we attended the brand-new campus in the fall. In addition to being on the Chats newspaper and yearbook staff, I got involved in student government and later was elected Student Body President. I met many wonderful people at MAC. Bill Martin from Caledonia and I remain good friends. Steve Henroid from Flat River and I shared many adventures. One favorite memory was the time Mr. Scobee let Steve and me climb up the ladder in the science department closet to get on the roof of the academic building. We walked to the glass skylight and knocked on the glass to try to get the attention of the students below. We were not very successful. We thought we were so daring. I had very good instructors at MAC, like Mrs. Louise Maynard who was very helpful to me as I was not such a great English student.” 

Jack transferred to Southeast Missouri State University where he earned his BS in Elementary Education and Master’s in Elementary Administration, and later added a middle school certificate from Southwest Missouri Baptist University. He spent 31 years as an elementary teacher with the North St. Francois County R-1 School District and retired in 2005.

In addition to their adult children and grandchildren, Liz and Jack prioritize “giving back” to their community. In 2018, their leadership was the catalyst for the Feed My Sheep fundraising event which was created for the sole purpose of helping feed the hungry in the local community. The fundraiser financially assists five food pantries in the central and northern portions of St. Francois County. The annual event grows each year and is held the Saturday before Palm Sunday. This year’s Feed My Sheep fundraiser will be April 1, 2023.

Poston Feed My Sheep

Liz and Jack with Feed My Sheep

They are very active in the First Baptist Church of Desloge where Liz is the organist. They teach Sunday School classes and volunteer with the church’s Family Ministry Center. Their volunteerism extends into the community as members of the Desloge Chamber of Commerce, the Missouri Retired Teachers Association, and the SEMO Alumni Council. Liz is a current member of MAC’s Foundation Board and the Xi Delta Omicron chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. Liz and Jack have received numerous honors during their careers and for their volunteer work. Liz received numerous Social Security Administration Individual Performance Awards and its 1994 Supervisory Excellence Award, Kansas City Region. MAC Foundation honored her with the Outstanding Alumna Award in 2008. She and Jack were recognized for their work on Feed My Sheep. In his capacity as Vice President of the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation and a Regional Vice President of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association, Jack is a voice for retirees from our school districts. His volunteer interests include serving two terms on the North County Board of Education, and as a board member for the Missouri Association of Rural Education, St. Francois County Board of Health, Desloge Public Library, and SEMO Alumni Board. He is a past state president of Missouri Retired Teachers Association. His volunteer endeavors have been recognized with honors such as: the 2019 Desloge Chamber of Commerce Labor Day Parade Grand Marshal, 2019 Desloge Pride Award, 2022 Rotary Club’s Service Above Self Award, Outstanding Southeast Missouri Teacher, and Regional Retired Teacher of the Year honors.

The Postons invite you to the 2023 FEED MY SHEEP bake sale event on Saturday, April 1 at the Desloge First Baptist Church. Stop by to shop, enjoy a tasty snack, or visit with friends you haven’t seen in years!