Where Are They Now?
By Megan Waterman '13
Jeanie (Lester) Riddle ’76 builds her political career around an idea that she learned while at Drury: “You can’t be the voice of the people if you don’t talk to the people.” The relationships she has created with her constituents and neighbors have helped her achieve success in politics. Now, in her second term as a Missouri State Representative, Riddle serves as assistant majority floor leader. But serving in the political arena was not always one of Riddle’s goals She finished high school with many interests, though she felt uncertain of where they would take her. Following in the steps of her older brother, she knew that Drury was her next stop.
Riddle looked up to her brother, William “Rick” Lester ’74, and wanted to spend her first year at Drury learning the ropes of college life and spending quality time with him. But unbeknownst to her, Rick would spend the fall semester of ‘72 studying political science in Washington, DC. This initial realization led to a session of contemplating her college decision outside Burnham Hall. “I had just graduated from McCluer, the largest high school in the state, and I didn’t know if Drury was the right choice for me,” remembers Riddle. After a few minutes of debating, Riddle was interrupted by Dr. Harvey Asher. “He took time out of his day to talk to me, discussing all the opportunities Drury had to offer because it was a liberal arts school” Riddle said. She appreciated Dr. Asher’s kindness and still fondly remembers it today as something that strengthened her bond with the University.
The family tradition of attending Drury has continued. When Riddle’s daughter Randee took Dr. Harvey Asher’s class, she told him, “I am here because of you. You took time to help my mom realize that this was the right place for her when she first came to Drury. She met my dad and now I’m here!” Both of Riddle’s children, Randee Rae (Riddle) Phelps ’03, Thomas Riddle ’06, and her son-in-law, Luke Phelps ’07 attended Drury, as well as her husband’s sister, Roxanne (Riddle) Loyed ’79 and her husband, William “Robin” Loyed ’79.
Passion for Drury runs in Riddle’s brothers’ family as well. Rick Lester serves as a Drury trustee and his son, Will Lester ’98, and daughter, Sarah (Lester) Wilkerson ’01 both graduated from Drury. Sarah’s niece, Samantha Lester ’09, is the most recent Drury graduate.
Jeanie Riddle has relied on her family to support her personal and political life. She plans to continue serving her district by winning the upcoming election. Her political platform revolves around fostering new energy generation and the economic development that accompanies it. Riddle plans to run for a seat in the Missouri Senate in 2014.
Pictured above, left to right: Thomas Riddle '06, Jackson Riddle, Dana Riddle, Jeanie Riddle '76, Randy Riddle '77, Randee Rae (Riddle) Phelps '03, Luke Phelps '07 & Benjamin Phelps