Stephen M. Archer, age 88, of Columbia, Missouri, passed away on February 13, 2023 at Columbia Post Acute. He was born May 14, 1934 in Winfield, Kansas; a son of William A. Archer and Cecelia (Kumbera) Archer. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years (Paula Karalyn) Kelly (Agrelius) Archer in 2012.
His first eight years of public school were spent in a one-room schoolhouse as he grew up on a farm outside Winfield. He graduated from Winfield High School and received BA, BS, and MS degrees from Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia State University) in Emporia, Kansas, ’57 and ’58, and in 1964 his doctorate from the University of ‘Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Theater History. Stephen taught at Argentine High School (KC), Black Hills State, Kearney State College, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and was a professor in the theater department at the University of Missouri for 27 years. In addition to teaching, directing plays, and leading dissertations, Stephen has authored seven books, including textbooks, reference books, a biography of Junius Brutus Booth, and a personal memoir, “I, Clodhopper.” The trip was an invaluable experience, domestically and abroad. A voracious reader, he has credited the Winfield Public Library and the works of Burroughs, Conan Doyle and Twain with giving his young mind insight into life beyond the farm. Most years he re-read Huckleberry Finn because he thought he couldn’t hurt him. He also enjoyed an almost lifelong devotion to baseball in general and our beloved cardinals in particular.
Stephen is survived by his son, Steven Archer, sisters-in-law Judith Agrelius and Betsy (Agrelius) Zindle, and brother-in-law Kenneth Zindle, all from Columbia, nephews and nieces. He was preceded by his parents, a sister, Katherine Leonhart, and a brother, William H. Archer.
The services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Stephen’s name can be made to Doctors Without Borders at https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/.
The arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service & Crematory, 12 East Ash Street, Columbia, MO 65203 (573) 449-4153. Condolences can be left online for the family at www.parkermillard.com.
Published online February 17, 2023
Published in the Columbia Daily Tribune