H. Dwight Weaver, a highly regarded Lake of the Ozarks historian and Missouri caves historian, died Friday, November 27, 2020 at his residence in Eldon, Missouri, at the age of 82.
Dwight was born May 29, 1938, in Centralia, Illinois, the only child of Estle Paul and Marelle (Smith) Weaver, both deceased. The family moved to Jefferson City in 1952 where he graduated from high school in 1956. He attended one year at the University of Missouri at Columbia and one year at the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. On May 29, 1959, he married Rosetta “Rosie” Martin of Ashland, Missouri. They have one daughter, Karen Louise Weaver, of Columbia, Missouri.
From 1958 to 1963, Dwight worked as an Occupational Therapy Assistant at Fulton State Hospital No. 1 in Fulton, Missouri and from 1964 to 1984 he was associated with Missouri show caves. From 1985 until his retirement in June 2000, he was a Public Information Specialist for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). He honored the department by winning national and regional awards for his writing skills. He retired as the Public Information Officer for the department’s Division of Geology at Rolla, Missouri.
Dwight Weaver was a noted Missouri’s cave historian and speaker. He was a member and fellow of the National Speleological Society (NSS); a member, former president and editor for the Missouri Speleological Survey (MSS); a co-founder of the Missouri Caves and Karst Conservancy (MCKC) and in 1980 received the Lester B. Dill Award for significant contributions to Missouri speleology. In 2015 he was presented with the prestigious Peter M. Hauer Spelean History Award by the National Speleological Society.
He was also a long time member and officer of the Camden County Historical Society and a charter member of the Miller County Historical Society.
Following retirement Dwight served on the Missouri Board of Geographic Names and was a columnist for the Lake of the Ozarks Business Journal. During his life he accumulated a large collection of historic images of the Lake of the Ozarks region as well as Missouri caves and both collections have been willed to the Missouri State Archives. He authored numerous books on the history of Lake of the Ozarks as well as Missouri caves, including Wilderness Underground, Caves of the Ozark Plateau and Missouri Caves in History and Legend published by the University of Missouri Press.
In 2006 he received a Historic Preservation Award from the Eldon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and awards from the Bagnell Dam Strip Association and the Lake Ozark Betterment Committee for contributions to local history. He received the 2015 Missouri Humanities Award from the Missouri Humanities Council for Exemplary Community Achievement
Dwight was a member of several state and regional writing groups; a co-founder of Lake Ozark Grotto, a local caving group; and a contributing member of the Ozark Mountain Pepsi Collectors Club. Dwight Weaver is survived by his wife, Rosie Weaver of the home and daughter, Karen Weaver of Columbia, MO.
His body will be cremated and he will be buried in the New Salem Cemetery, Ashland, Missouri, where his parents and the parents of his wife are buried. Visitation will be Friday, November 4, 2020 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM at Phillips Funeral Home of Eldon, MO.
In Lieu of Flowers, Memorials in his name are suggested to the New Salem Cemetery of Ashland, MO or the Camden County Historical Society.
Due to current CDC guidelines, those attending services for Dwight are ask to wear face coverings and follow social distancing requirements.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of Phillips Funeral Home of Eldon, MO.
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