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Friday, July 28, 2017

The Whittle Family of Morgan County, Missouri

This article follows up my previous post titled Patrick Swayze's Unknown Son.

In 1972, when Patrick Swayze was 20 years old, he got a 15-year-old girl named Bonnie Kay Whittle pregnant. She lived near Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. In 1973, he gave birth to a boy, Jason Whittle, who now is 44 years old. It seems likely that Swayze, who died in 2009, never knew anything at all about Jason Whittle.

I no longer will use the word "alleged", because a couple of comments on my previous article confirmed Globe's  article to my satisfaction.

Bonnie Kay Whittle Lada
A photograph from the "Find a Grave" website.
Bonnie Kay Whittle Lada was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 1, 1956, and died on August 12, 2012, in Barnett, Missouri. She was the daughter of Milvon and Lebetta (Luvin) Whittle.

The Find A Grave website reports further:
In 1995, in Harrison, Arkansas, she was married to Ronald Lada, who survives at the home. Bonnie enjoyed camping, music, dancing and spending time with her family and friends.

Others who survive her include: five children:

* Jason Whittle ...

* Ben Curtman ...

* Maria Klein ...

* Michael Wilson ...

* Travis Lada ...
Four sons with different last names, because she was married at least three times. The youngest child has the same family name -- Lada -- as her widower.


Bonnie Kay's father, Milvon Whittle, was described in his obituary as follows:
Milvon Whittle, 65, Barnett, died Oct. 2, 1999, at his home.

He was born Feb. 18, 1934, in Morgan County, a son of Everett and Alpha Ellen Branch Whittle. He was married April 18, 1953, to Lebetta Luvin, who survives at the home.

He was a self-employed tree trimmer and log buyer. He was a member of Mount Nebo Church, Versailles.

Other survivors include: three sons, Ronnie Whittle, Eldon, Randy Whittle, Barnett, and Rodney Luvin, Columbia; four daughters, Debbie Sieling, Belinda Byrd and Brenda Draeger, all of Eldon, and Bonnie Lada, Bagnell Dam; one brother, Wilford Whittle, Barnett; one sister, Lula Capps, Stover; 23 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Bonnie Kay had an aunt (her mother's sister) named Bonnie (née Luvin) Vansell, whose obituary reported a lot of family relationships:
Bonnie Vansell .... was born March 12, 1943, in Napoleon, Missouri. ....

On August 20, 1960, at the Stover United Methodist Church, Bonnie was united in marriage to Raymond Vansell, who survives at their home.

As a teenager Bonnie worked at Primo Pants Factory in Versailles. She later worked as a CNA at the Golden Age Living Center in Stover. ...

She is survived by four children (Bonny Kay's cousins) and their spouses:

* Rick and Lisa Vansell of Stover ...

* Gina and Kent Englbrecht of Stover ...

* Aaron and Crystal Vansell of Versailles ...

* Michael Wood of Stover ...

and six siblings (Bonnie Kay's aunts and uncles)

** Louise and Bob Kimball of Sacramento, California ...

** Loretta Klindworth of Stover ...

** Lebetta Whittle (Bonnie Kay's mother) of Barnett ...

** Ellis and Marilyn Luvin of Kansas City ...

** Roy and Rose Luvin of Stover ...

** Peggy Eckhoff of Barnett ...

In 2016, a younger Milvon Whittle (a grandson?) worked as a bus driver for the R-I School District of Morgan County, Missouri. Morgan County touches on Lake of the Ozarks, which is where Globe magazine reported that Bonnie Kay Whittle met Patrick Swayze in 1972.

The central town of the Morgan County R-I School District is Stover. In the year 1970 (two years before Bonney Kay met Patrick Swayze), Stover's population was only 849. By the last census in 2010, Stover's population had grown to 1,094.

Morgan County School District R-I is dark gray.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park in at bottom-right corner.
(Click the image to enlarge it.)
Directly east from School District R-1 is District R-Ii, which encompasses Versailles, which is the seat of Morgan County. If you drive from Stover to Versailles and continue on Highway 52, you come to Eldon, which will be mentioned below.


Sometime between 1972, when Bonnie Kay Whittle met Patrick Swayze, Lebetta Whittle and much of her family moved from the Stover area to Springfield, Missouri.

After Bonnie Kay Whittle met Patrick Swayze,
she and her mother moved from the Stover area to Springfield, Missouri.

The Springfield Leader and Press newspaper, published in Springfield, Missouri, reported on July 24, 1974:
Rented Home of 8 Damaged by Blaze

Springfield firemen put a quick stop to a fire at at residence occupied by eight persons at 2153 South Weller, but said two of its five rooms were extensively damaged.

The blaze, at the residence of Mrs. Lebetta Whittle, was reported at 10:34 p.m. Tuesday while much of the city's fire-fighting force was tied up at the scene of an asphalt explosion and fire at Sequiota Park. ....

The home rented by Mrs. Whittle also was occupied by

* her daughter, Mrs. Debbie Johns, 20, her three children, Tina Marie, Venus and Trevis Johns,

* another daughter, Mrs. Bonnie Curtman, 18, and a son, Jason James Whittle, and

* and a third daughter, Belinda Whittle, 15.

The owner of the house is H. H. Stokes.

[Fire Inspector Herschel] Jordan said the fire apparently started in the garage, probably from a firecracker or matches. The family was removing belongings out of the house when the neighbors called in the alarm.

Firemen confined the damage to about 50 percent of two rooms and managed to cover furnishings and save the other three rooms from extensive damage, Jordan said.
On that day, July 24, 1974, Bonnie Kay's age was 18 years old and almost three months. At some previous date she had married a man named Curtman.


The above list of Bonnie Kay's children included a boy named Ben Curtman -- Jason's younger brother.

So, when Bonnie Kay gave birth to her first son, Jason, she was unmarried, and so Jason was given Bonnie Kay's family name Whittle.

By the time Ben was born, Bonnie Kay was married to a man named Curtman. (Jason Whittle certainly knew that Mr. Curtman was not his biological father.)

The third child, Maria, might have grown up as Maria Curtman or as Maria Wilson -- but eventually Maria married and became Maria Klein.

The child after Maria is Michael Wilson. Therefore, Bonnie Kay stopped being married to Mr. Curtman and became married to a Mr. Wilson.

Ultimately Bonnie Kay married Ronald Lada and gave birth to Travis Lada.


Ben Curtman's full name is Ben Cary Curtman.


When I discovered that Jason Whittle's middle name is James, I found that he married Delpha Rachelle Bell Stevens on November 14, 2015. At that time, they both lived in Stover, Missouri.

When I discovered that his wife was named Delpha Stevens, I found the obituary of her mother Diana Bradshaw, who lived her whole life in the area of Kansas City, Missouri, and died there on October 27, 2016. Bradshaw had one surviving child, Delpha Stevens Whittle, who had one daughter, Izzabella Whittle. Through her step-son Jason Whittle, Bradshaw had step-grandchildren Riley and Noah.

I found also that Delpha Whittle at some time worked as a teachers aide at Dogwood Hills School, in Eldon, Missouri. The school educates severely disabled children. In the above map showing the school district, Eldon is located on the image's center-right side.


Bonnie Kay Whittle died in Barnett, Missouri. which is about a 20-mile drive east from Stover. The drive is through Versailles.

The drive between Stover and Barnett, Missouri.
(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Bonnie Kay's father Milvon Whittle died in 1999 and is buried in Big Rock Cemetery.

Bonnie Kay's mother Lebetta Jane Whittle is still alive, according to the Globe article. Her death date is not on this photograph of her late husband's tombstone.

Big Rock Church and Cemetery is located between Versailles and Barnett (where Bonnie Kay died).

(Click the image to enlarge it.)
Morgan County includes Barnett, Big Rock, Versailles and Stover.

Since the gravesite of Milvon and Lebetta is in Big Rock Cemetery, I assume that the lived in that vicinity and attended Big Rock Church. If so, then that is where Bonnie Kay spent at least some of her childhood and attended church.

Below are photographs of Big Rock Church and Cemetery at the intersection of Big Rock and Mule Drive, northwest of Barnett in Morgan County, Missouri. (It looks to me that this church has been replaced by a business complex called Scotty's Super Services.)

Following are photographs, taken in 2000, of the church's interior.

I that Bonnie Kay Whittle attended this church when she was a girl. Maybe she sometimes took her son Jason James Whittle to services there too.

This religious upbringing might explain why Bonnie Kay decided not to get an abortion when she became pregnant, even though she was only 15 years old -- and also why she decided to just repent her sin, get on with her life, raise her child and not spoil Patrick Swayze's life.

On the other hand, why did Bonnie Kay go and have sex with Patrick Swayze when she was only 15?

An interesting movie -- an anti-abortion movie -- could be made about the life of Bonnie Kay Whittle and her affair with Patrick Swayze, who became world-famous for making a pro-abortion movie.


This is the second article of a series.

The first article is titled Patrick Swayze's Unknown Son.

The third article is titled The Disney on Parade 1972 Tour and Patrick Swayze.

The fourth article is titled Patrick Swayze met Bonnie Kay Whittle in April 1972.

The fifth article is titled No More News About Jason Whittle

The sixth article is titled A Comment from the Son of Jason Whittle


  1. You're research is quite extensive. I'm distantly related to all of these people. However, I don't have a huge relationship with all of them because it is rather large. I went to high school with Jason and graduated with him. The town Versailles is spelled with an S. It blows my mind that Jason could be his son. It would be sad not getting to know Patrick as your father growing up. Such a huge resemblance. I will let you know there is also another Jason Whittle with a date of birt 1975 who was a professional football player who graduated from Candenton High School of which I know as well. Camdenton is in the Lake of the Ozarks as well.

  2. Inconsistencies as follows: Travis Lada is NOT the son of Bonnie and Ronald Lada .He is the son of Louise and Ronald Lada. Louise is Ronald's previous wife .Bonnie's obit where you obviously got this info is incorrect. Check your facts. Ronald is not alive. He died in 2015.

  3. Dont think anyone is really interested in the whittle family