Betty Jo Simpson Spaar, 85, Odessa, died April 11, 2018, at Lafayette Regional Health Center, Lexington.

Born January 24, 1933, in Brunswick, she was the daughter and only child of Lester and Madeline Blunt Simpson.

She was a 1950 graduate of Holden High School and a 1954 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia.

A third generation journalist, she was owner/publisher of the Odessan from 1960-2018. She also founded Focus on Oak Grove in 1995 and was owner/publisher.

She was a past president and Paul Harris fellow of the Odessa Rotary Club. She was past president of the Missouri Press Association and the Missouri Press Foundation. She received an Honor Medal from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Missouri and was a recipient of the National Newspaper Association Emma C. McKinney Award. She was inducted into the Missouri Press Hall of Fame and during the 2012-2013 school year, she was inducted into the Odessa R-7 Public Education Foundation Hall of Fame. She also was a past member of numerous alumni committees and organizations at MU and was Puddle Jumper Days parade marshal in 2011. Betty was a member and elder of New Horizon Presbyterian Church and taught Sunday school for many years.

Survivors include two sons and a daughter-in-law, John Spaar, Lee’s Summit and Joe and Renee Spaar, Odessa; four grandchildren and spouses, Hannah Spaar, Odessa, Hallie and Donald Aulbert, Oak Grove, Ellen and Jaremy Longley, Kansas City, and Blanton Spaar, Lee’s Summit; and two great-grandsons, Porter Spaar and Titus Longley.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, April 15, 2018 at New Horizon Presbyterian Church, Odessa, with Reverend Paula Isgrig officiating. Burial will be in Odessa Cemetery. Visitation will be 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Ralph O. Jones Funeral Home, Odessa.

Family suggests memorials to the Betty S. Spaar Rotary Scholarship Fund, Missouri Press Foundation or the New Horizon Presbyterian Church.

Arrangements by: Ralph O. Jones Funeral Home, 320 South Second Street, Odessa, MO 64076 816-633-5524.