School 13

Leland "Keith" Larimore

1940 ~ 2022 (age 81) 81 Years Old
Obituary Image


Dr. (Leland) Keith Larimore, Ph.D., age 81, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, at his home in the Anthology Senior Living facility of Overland Park, Kansas (Kansas City). 

Keith was born in,1940, in Kansas City, Missouri, son of the late John Keith and Aurealia Farris Larimore. He moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, around the age of 14 and then to Joplin a couple of years later. During his teen years, Keith had a passion for cars and drag racing. His pride and joy at that time was a 1951 Ford that provided him with a creative outlet to showcase his artistic talents via a custom-designed pinstripe flame job on the outside, as well as tuck-and-roll upholstery he installed on the inside. He loved racing, winning most of the competitions he entered and taking home numerous first-place trophies. During these years, he attended Joplin High School, from which he graduated in 1959. 

Keith continued his education, putting himself through college, earning an Associates Degree from Jasper County Community College (formerly Joplin Junior College), his Bachelor's Degree from Kansas State College of Pittsburg (currently Pittsburg State University), his Masters degree in one year from the University of Oklahoma, and his Doctorate from the University of Arkansas. By this time, he was married to his high school sweetheart, Sherry, and they had two children with a third on the way. Whenever he was not attending classes, he was working to pay for college and to support his family, initially working nights and weekends at the old Safeway in Joplin at 26th and Main. He later taught as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Arkansas while obtaining his Ph.D., and he also capitalized on his artistic abilities, earning money by designing and selling billboards. In 1966, at the age of 26, he was recruited and hired to be the first Dean of the Business Administration Division (the position was referred to as Division Chairman before the term Dean was adopted for each School or College) at a new four-year higher education institution that was to open in the Fall of 1967 as Missouri Southern College (formerly Jasper County Community College, subsequently Missouri Southern State College and currently Missouri Southern State University). Keith was instrumental in the development of the new Business Administration curriculum which had to be designed to facilitate a four-year baccalaureate degree. He was also responsible for the recruiting and hiring of new faculty. Keith set high standards insisting that the Business faculty had  Doctorate credentials upon hiring or were in the process of working towards their Ph.D. 

In 1971, Keith took a one-year leave as Dean to participate in an overseas teaching program that was established by the University of  Arkansas Graduate School of Business in conjunction with the Air Force. In this role, he taught  graduate courses to Officers of the military, mainly in the fields of marketing, management and economics in Izmir, Turkey, and Athens, Greece. He returned to his position as Dean from 1972 through 1976 when he then chose to step away from managing the Business Administration Division and return to his primary passion, teaching, which enabled him to do what he loved most, and felt was most rewarding, interacting with his students. Keith loved his students, and they loved him. Stepping away from management also gave him more time on the personal front  to spend with his family as well as partake in a multitude of hobbies including golfing, hunting, fishing, boating, and bowling. Keith also had a flair for woodworking and enjoyed building cabinets and furniture. His desire to construct things with his own hands led him to take on the responsibility of General Contractor when building his family's new home in the Sunnyvale subdivision of Joplin, much of it he built himself, (with some help from family and friends), in eight months from March to October 1976. 

On the professional front, in addition to teaching, Keith established a private management consulting business, conducting professional leadership and management seminars primarily to Chamber of Commerce organizations. He also became a highly sought after expert witness in personal injury cases, providing testimony outlining the economic value of the victim's financial loss over a normal life expectancy, due to an injury. Simultaneous to his private businesses, Keith continued teaching at Missouri Southern State College until the end of 1988 and then moved to Virginia to accept a full professorship position at Radford University, where he taught both graduate and undergraduate courses until 2001. While at Radford, he participated in a faculty and student exchange program with Belgium, teaching both Radford and international students at the University of Antwerp for a period of time. Additionally, Keith had a zeal for research and as a result, authored numerous articles and white papers which were published in a variety of business publications, including the Wall Street Journal, over the course of his career. While in Joplin he was a member of, and served as President of the Joplin Exchange Club, as well as a member of the Joplin Jaycees. In Radford, he was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and Ducks Unlimited. At the age of 60, a brain aneurysm in March of 2001 forced Keith into early retirement. Prior to the aneurysm, he'd planned to take up a variety of artistic endeavors upon retirement, including painting. He was also very much looking forward to spending more time deep sea fishing at the Outer Banks (where his ashes will be spread) on his beloved boat, appropriately named "Scholar Ship"


After several years of dating, Keith married the love of his life, Sherry, on March 25, 1961. Keith and Sherry were married for more than 61 years. They had one daughter, Johnna Larimore, and two sons, Larry (Lawrence) Larimore, and Lee (Leland) Larimore. Lee preceded Keith in death on June 13, 2013. Keith is survived by his loving and devoted wife Sherry Larimore of Kansas City, daughter Johnna Larimore Tupper and Jeff Tupper of Kansas City, son Larry Larimore and wife Pam Larimore of Joplin; four grandchildren, Jacob Tupper (Brittany) of Denver, Jordan Larimore (Lakin) of Joplin, Jaxon Tupper (Kacy Nienstedt) of Denver, Kenzie Larimore Powderly (Jack) of Springfield, Mo., and one step grandchild Tony Sforunato (Jaimie) of Kansas City; three great grandchildren, Avery Larimore, Owen Powderly, Hudson Larimore; one sister, Donna Mealman, one sister-in-law, Delilah Petrus (Jim); one niece, Karen Weeks (Kent) and one nephew, Mike Mealman. 

Keith's family is hosting his Life Celebration Open House on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Twin Hills Country Club, 2019 S. Country Club Dr. Joplin, Mo. Drinks and Appetizers will be served throughout and group story sharing will start at 3 p.m. All will gather to share stories, recall memories, laugh, cry and remember Keith, an amazing man, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle, leader, teacher, mentor and friend. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to share something about Keith. Perhaps think about what he did to make you laugh. What did you learn from him? What did you admire about him? What do you remember most about him?  

The family sincerely thanks Advanced Hospice of Kansas City for taking such loving and compassionate care of Keith in his last few months, and wants to express special gratitude to Molly and Melissa, as well as Amber, Jessica and Belle. Memorial donations in Keith's name be made to Advanced Hospice of Kansas City, 9233 Ward Parkway Suite 275, Kansas City, Mo., 64114. All donations will be utilized to support Advanced Hospice’s volunteer programming to continue to enrich patient care.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Leland "Keith" Larimore, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
October 9, 2022

2:00 PM
Twin Hills Country Club
2019 S. Country Club Dr.
Joplin, MO 64804-9022


Advanced Hospice of Kansas City
9233 Ward Parkway Suite 275, Kansas City MO 64114


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