Joel Martin Vance, 86, of Russellville, passed away Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at Capital Region Medical Center.
He was born September 25, 1934, in Chicago, IL, the son of the late Martin Benton and Ann Marie (Soper) Vance.
He was a 1952 graduate of Keytesville High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri.
Joel served in the Army National Guard.
He was united in marriage on September 30, 1956, in Macon, Missouri, to Martha Lou Leist who survives.
Joel started his writing career as a reporter in Montgomery, AL covering important events such as the bus boycott in 1955. He and Marty moved to Mexico, MO, where he wrote for the Mexico Ledger as a sports reporter. In 1967, they moved to Jefferson City where he started his 25-year career with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) as a staff writer for the Missouri Conservationist. He continued freelancing his entire life for publications such as Outdoor Life, Gun Dog, and North American Fisherman and many others. He wrote ten books and was still posting to his blog up until a couple of weeks before he died.
His proudest contribution to the MDC involved promoting and writing the Design for Conservation outlining the constitutionally dedicated sales tax to push conservation forward in Missouri. This proposal is the blueprint for similar initiatives across the nation. Consequently, the MDC is one of the most trusted and financed agencies in the country. He prophetically wrote in 1975, “Heritage is something passed along. How sad if all we pass to those who will remember us is noise and pollution and concrete. How sad never to hear the sweet voice of a bluebird, never to see the dogwoods in bloom, never to know the majesty of an oak-mantled Ozark bluff. That is the sorrow we must not allow to occur in the tomorrows of the future.”
Joel was also a long-time member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA). He was president and won multiple awards such as Jade of Chiefs for distinguished service to conservation and the Ham Brown Award for exceptional service to OWAA. He also taught at and founded residential writing workshops for many years: Wildbranch in Vermont and Goldenrod in Montana, in addition to many workshops, presentations, and school groups.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, biking, cross-country skiing, canoeing, playing the guitar and singing, photography, artwork, reading, international travel, and spending time with family and his dogs.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Marty Vance, Russellville; five children, Carrie (Ron) DeValk, Woodland Park, CO; Joseph Vance, Jefferson City; Edward Vance, Russellville; Andrew Vance, Russellville; Amy (Brad) Binkley, Jefferson City; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren with one more on the way.
Preceded in death by his parents and many beloved bird dogs.
A private family service will be held.
Memorials are suggested to the Conservation Federation of Missouri.
Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Those wishing to send condolences to the family may do so at the www.dulletrimble.com website.
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