October 3, 1946 - April 15, 2015
Ara Lewellen, 68, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, due to respiratory failure and complications from Multiple Systems Atrophy. She was born Oct. 3, 1946, in Kansas City, to Dr. Charles H. and Wanda Saunders Lewellen. In 1964, she graduated from Louisiana High School in Louisiana. She then completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia. After her marriage to her first husband, Don Whitener, with whom she had her two daughters, Ms. Lewellen moved to Dallas, Texas, and continued to live and work in that area for over 40 years. While raising her daughters, she earned both a master’s degree (1979) and a doctoral degree (1993) in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to obtaining her doctorate, she worked in community mental health, serving the severe and persistently mentally ill in both public and private settings. After earning her doctoral degree, Ms. Lewellen pursued an academic career at Texas A&M University at Commerce and eventually became a tenured Associate Professor of Social Work. A member of Alpha Delta Mu, a national social work honor society whose members have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, she loved academia and presenting at conferences, but she found teaching and working with her students most fulfilling. One of her greatest professional accomplishments was the publication of a textbook she co-authored with colleagues Ted Watkins and Marjie Barrett titled, “Dual Diagnosis: An Integrated Approach to Treatment.” In addition to her career, Ms. Lewellen advocated for numerous humanitarian issues. She cared deeply about all people, never met a stranger, championed liberal issues and befriended all animals. She was an avid reader and she enjoyed traveling with family and friends. As a mother, Ms. Lewellen was devoted to her daughters and loved them unconditionally. In her later years, her grandchildren were a source of great happiness. She was preceded in death by her father, Dr. Charles H. Lewellen. She is survived by her mother, Wanda Lewellen, of Louisiana; her brother Charles (JoAnne) Lewellen, of Excelsior, Minn.; daughters, Kelcy (Warren) Lofgren, of Ankeny, Iowa and Wendy Whitener, of Rapid City, S.D. and four grandchildren: Ryan and Ara Lofgren and Kieran and Kenna Stewart. A celebration of life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, 2015 at Collier Funeral Home in Louisiana, Missouri. Visitation will be held from 12:30 p.m. until time of service at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Multiple Systems Atrophy Coalition online or to an animal rescue league of your choice.
Ara Lewellen, 68, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, due to respiratory failure and complications from Multiple Systems Atrophy. She was born Oct. 3, 1946, in Kansas City, to Dr. Charles H. and Wanda Saunders Lewellen.... View Obituary & Service Information
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