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History: They Left and Never Returned (Monett, Missouri)

Growing up in a small town can feel limiting to some. While these folks venture into other parts of the world they seem to take a little piece of Monett with them.


After graduating from Monett in 1930, Arthur L. Edson left his family’s 3-acre farm at 600 West Dunn to attend and graduate from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. His first job was as a sports writer for The Daily Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City. In 1938, He joined the Associated Press (AP) Kansas City Bureau. Edson then moved to Washington, DC in the early 1940s and was, along with other top AP writers, instrumental in bringing the AP into the American Newspaper Guild. By 1948, he was a top feature writer for AP. He covered presidential politics for twenty-four years and did may feature stories for the AP. He moved to "US News and World Report" in 1968 and was due to take a top position there when his career was cut short by cancer. Arthur Edson died in January 1969. The Arthur Edson Papers are available for use by researchers at George Washington University in Washington D.C..


Alvin Clarence “Titanic” Thompson (Thomas) AKA “The Plunger” was born to 1892 to a gambling alcoholic and his wife on a dirt road outside of Monett. Thompson learned about life the hard way and by age 11 adopted his fathers “habit” and took it to the next level by swindling whatever out of unsuspecting marks. His first big success was using his gambling earnings from his Army service in World War 1 and buying his mom a house in Monett. After that Thompson would travel the United States scamming whoever he met to include the infamous gangster Al Capone.


While Thompson would become a noted figure in the golfing and gambling world, he would die virtually penniless in a nursing home in Euless, Texas at the age of 80 on May 19, 1974. 

Decathlete Philip Roy "Phil" Mulkey was born in Monett on January 17th, 1933. After graduating from Wheaton high school in 1950, this talented athlete would go on to compete in Olympic trials in 1952, 1956, and 1960 at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships where he earned second place behind 1956 Olympic Silver winner Rafer Johnson. While he never got to compete in the Olympics, Mulkey did break many records.


In addition to his athletic career, Mulkey served in U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, U.S. Army during the Korean War and later as a U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps instructor.   Mulkey currently resides in Birmingham, Alabama, after spending many years coaching high school sports.

Although born in Texas, Ambassador Sally Shelton-Colby grew up in Monett and graduated from Monett High School in 1962. From there she would earn degree from University of Missouri and build an impressive resume in Foreign Relations that would include working for Presidents Jimmy Carter (Ambassador to Grenada and Barbados 1979-1981) and Bill Clinton (Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.).


In addition to working in government, Shelton-Colby’s personal life also centered around the political world to include her first husband Eduardo Jimenez, who later served as the Mexican Ambassador to Iceland and Norway and second husband former CIA director William Colby. Shelton-Colby would later become widowed upon the death of her husband in a canoe accident in 1996.


Shelton-Colby is currently teaching at American University in Washington, D.C and serves as a board member of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation and Director of the La Pietra Coalition at Vital Voices. 

 Born on May 25, 1931, Howard Francis Stone’s family would leave Monett and move to Oklahoma. Upon graduating in 1949 from OKC’s Central High School, Stone would attend the US Military academy in West Point, New York and graduate from there in 1955.   By 1981, Stone became The Commandant of the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.   Stone would later retire from the Army as a 3 star general.    As of publication, Howard Francis Stone is still living and additional internet searches have resulted in no obituaries.


Sources:  Arthur Edson 

Boyhood Address Pensacola News Journal (16 Sept 1963)  Yearbook Photo (used to verify MHS graduation date)


Link for papers at George Washington University



Titanic Thompson 


Phil Mulkey 


Sally Shelton-Colby 


Howard F. Stone 

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