John Warner

September 8, 1957August 4, 2019
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John Warner was born on September 8, 1957 in Elmhurst, IL and passed away on August 4, 2019 in Columbia, MO.

He is survived by his loving wife of 25 years, Diane Kartheiser-Warner; his mother, Sandra McKim of Conway, AR; his half-sister, Pam Cossey of Greenbriar, AR; uncles, aunts, and several cousins. He has two sons, Ben and Ryan, from a prior marriage.

From the moment John saw his first episode of Adam-12, he wanted to be a police officer. He received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree in 1979 from Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg. He worked for the Warrensburg Police Department for his first 9 years in Law Enforcement before moving on to the Columbia Police Department for another 27 years of service. For 20 of those years, John was a beloved DARE officer as well as a member of the SWAT team. When the DARE program ended in 2009, John remained in the schools as a School Resource Officer until his retirement from law enforcement in 2014. He went on to work for the Center for Education Safety/Missouri School Board Association until his death.

Visitation is scheduled on Thursday, August 8, 2019 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W, Columbia, MO 65202.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to C.O.P.S., 846 Old S. 5, Camdenton, MO 65020 or Columbia Second Chance Animal Shelter.


  • He is survived by his loving wife of 25 years, Diane Kartheiser-Warner; his mother, Sandra McKim of Conway, AR; his half-sister, Pam Cossey of Greenbriar, AR; uncles, aunts, and several cousins. He has two sons, Ben and Ryan, from a prior marriage.

  • C.O.P.S.
  • Second Chance Animal Shelter


  • Visitation Thursday, August 8, 2019


John Warner

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Bethanie Lundy

August 10, 2019

I’ve struggled to put into words what this man meant to me. He likely never knew how he helped to shape who I would become. From the moment I met him and his wife, I knew I was the in presence of people I would hold in my heart forever.

John was measured and thoughtful. He was the first man I ever knew that didn’t look at everything as a competition. I loved talking with him because he never tried convincing me of anything. He engaged in conversation simply for the pleasure of the exchange, learning something about the person with whom he was speaking and even on the subject at hand. He posed questions and listened intently to the answers. He challenged positions to better understand, not simply for the sake of argument. He would take a moment to write something down as if he would look it up later. From day one, he was everything I wanted to be when I grew up.

I spent many nights at their home talking into the wee hours about anything and everything. From Tom Waits to peak oil, we covered all the important topics and a few some would mislabel frivolous. We shared great music, some we had just discovered and some we had to dust off. We were blessed with Diane’s marvelous cooking and we would toast with a new favorite beverage. They taught me to love British comedy and I may or may not forgive them for that. What I do know is that I cherish those memories and I hold true to the things I learned from them.

I have random pieces of paper in my wallet with scribbles on them for things I want to look up later. I revel in asking questions and listening to the answers. I care deeply for the people I engage and am careful with how I do so. I am purposeful. I am thoughtful. I try to be measured and often fail. I will forever continue to try.

The fact is, some of my favorite things about who I have become at stage in my life can be attributed to the fact that I had the fortune of meeting John and Diane. There are some things for which you can never be grateful enough.

Jan Ruess

August 10, 2019

In addition to all the humans John helped over the years, the John I knew loved dogs. I have a vision of him healthy and strong surrounded by all the dogs that left us before he did. Thank you Diane for sharing him with us. Love Jan and Allie

Sam Warner

August 9, 2019

I wish I had more time to get to know you, John. We met first at grandpa’s funeral, later at Uncle Roger’s funeral, and more regularly when you and Diane came to the area where I live. You were kind to so many, and loved Diane deeply. Diane, you and I had some deep conversations getting to know each other, and oddly shared one common theme that has taken you first. The world is a more lonely place without you.

I don’t know how best to convey my grief from your passing well. I could tell some story, I could relay a thought you passed on, though I don’t know which to choose that conveys the full meaning of how the little time I knew you meant a lot. Similarities in experience from two different lives is unique, which is more interesting from our knowing each other such a short time despite being related.

The one memory I have, is walking you from the deck to your bedroom - with you exhausted from the combination of illness n medicine - and unable to go alone. I felt peculiar at first, holding you up in the walk to your bed, mostly from how little I know all the Warner’s let alone you. There I was holding you up, walking you down the hall. An overwhelming feeling came to me of

- family -

what a family is, and how a family cares for each other, all while carefully guiding you. You mentioned the next day you rested well that night.

Rest well now my cousin.

You meant so much to so many.

Rest well John.

Sarah Jean Gilles

August 8, 2019

During the four years I taught in Missouri, John was the DARE officer for my fifth grade class. My students and I loved having him join us each week of the program! He and I shared an interest in music and I still have a cd mix of Christmas music he made. He was an amazing person and educator. He will be greatly missed. ❤️❤️❤️

Dena Kartheiser

August 8, 2019

I remember the first time I met John. I had already met Diane, but seeing them together was totally different than seeing them apart. They just clicked, they were truly meant for each other and just being in the same room, you felt it. The looks, the smiles, the laughs, the nudges, the conversation, all of it was about their love. Diane shared John with so many people who thought the world of him, I love them both for being an inspiration of what love truly is and their love and support of Mike, Haley, and I. No one could be so lucky as we are to call John and Diane family. From the words of our engagement dinner, for anyone that shares half the love John and Diane do, then you have lived a life full of love and happiness! Rest well John! We love you!

Andy Oeth

August 8, 2019

I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of my heroes, John Warner. John was the kind of cop I always wanted to be. Kind, compassionate, professional, never taking himself too seriously, while understanding the big picture of his role, completely.
John is the kind of man I have always wanted to be. He never felt it necessary to fit himself into a mold of who anyone else thought he ought to be. He was a completely unique person.
John’s mission was to turn kids from the things that destroyed them, and toward the things that enriched them. He was a lover of art, music, people, and life. He was not a lover of excuses, apathy, and negativity.
I had the pleasure to work with John on the First Night Columbia Youth Venue, for many years when I was in High School. John taught me so much about truly caring about your mission. Not just doing a job, or fulfilling an obligation, but being all in on things you believed in.
John was always willing to give advice though I didn’t always listen (he tried to talk me out of going into law enforcement, 13 years later I followed his advice and became a teacher and coach, just as he suggested). John wrote letters and and made phone calls when I was applying for jobs. He was a mentor, a teacher, and someone I pray I have the courage to be.
I will be listening to a lot of Clapton and Hendrix over the next few days, in John’s honor, and I may have to have a good cigar to complete the experience. Honor John, and go live.
Love you, Brother John. Rest well.

Charlene Bartlett

August 7, 2019

Diane, I hope you find some peace as you read all the beautiful comments about John. He was a good man that lived his life well. May the memories comfort you. You are in our thoughts.

Alexis Robertson

August 7, 2019

I had the privilege of having John, from elementary school in Fairview in columbia, MO where I’m from, during the D.A.R.E program. I remember John changed my life specifically through the D.A.R.E program. why I always stayed on track with my life. I have lost a lot of people in my life, over the last years which is never easy. Death and grief is difficult to recover from but because of that one program from school it helped me stay on track personally, In my life, and with my professional careers. When I was 20 years old I moved to California to peruse my dreams to making it in Hollywood, I left eveything I had in Columbia, to go to California with no family. I have personally seen many people, friends, lives, destroy themselves and everything over drugs what John taught everyone in the class to stay away from. John is the reason why I never did drugs and why I carried everything he said with me in my life. Honestly, if I didn’t have him in that class I don’t know where I would have been in my life, careers, or how I could have survived Hollywood living in Los Angeles all of the years I lived there. I don’t know where I would have been in my life without johns impact on helping people. He was a role model not just for the dare class but in general In life for who the person he was. I remember he left an impact on my life why I never forgot him. Still to this day that dare class is the reason why I kept and carried a good head on my shoulders because of John, I told my mom
On the phone today John is the reason why I never did drugs and kept myself and life together. Hollywood, and Los Angeles is filled with a lot of drugs and i can’t tell you The number of people I have seen who can’t escape the addictions and problems with drugs especially in the entertainment industry what my industry is. I became a model and artist, and I’m truly honored the legacy and inspiration John left me on my life forever. I have to thank him forever thank you truly for everything John.

Tom Struckhoff

August 7, 2019

Oh man. I remember when he pulled me over for speeding as a teenager and gave me a warning bc he recognized me as one of his DARE kids who got a lot of lizard stickers (you got those for doing well in DARE class). He was a really great guy and someone who really cared about the kids he was helping. That is sad. He was way too young. My prayers go out to him and his family.

Darla Kramer

August 7, 2019

One of the kindest men I have ever had the pleasuring of knowing and calling my friend. John did so much good in and for our community during his career over the years, he left an indelible mark and his legacy. He made an incredibly positive impact in the lives of many who met him, both young and old. With his quick wit, infectious smile and love for life in general, being around him always made the world seem like a better place. As a lover of travel, literature, music and the arts, there was never a lack of a good conversation, with plenty of laughter to go around.

John very openly shared the love he had for his wife, Diane. She was the yin to his yang, as he was to her. As the "a-wake" gathering they held for their friends and colleagues was winding down just a few short weeks ago, John shared with me how blessed he felt by the amount of people there to share their love for him. I replied to him it was us who had been blessed for having him in our lives. You are deeply loved John Warner and will be greatly missed. Having you as my friend has been a great pleasure and one I will never forget. Sending all of my love to Diane!