Margaret Ketterer

Margaret Cary Ketterer

1924 - 2021

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Obituary of Margaret Cary Ketterer

Margaret Cary Ketterer passed away on June 30, 2021 at the Bird House Hospice Home in Iowa City after a brief battle with cancer. She would have been 97 in August. Margaret was born August 22, 1924 in Boston Valley, New York, the youngest of three daughters of Van Rensselaer and Martha Churchill Cary. She spent most of her younger years in York, Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1945 from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, with a major in Biology and a minor in French. At Dickinson she met John Joseph Ketterer on a blind date, and married him in 1946 after he returned from serving in the US Navy in World War II. They began married life in New York City, and then in 1953 they moved to Monmouth, Illinois, where John taught Biology at Monmouth College for forty-four years and Margaret raised her two sons Robert and Matthew. She was the quintessential mother, homemaker, and hostess, involved in her own family life and that of a midwest liberal arts college. A fifties cook par excellence, she was known for her desserts above all. Over the years she was a leading spirit as a Cub Scout den mother, a member of the PTA, and as a Pi Beta Phi alumna. As her kids grew up she was an organizing spirit in the town-gown Gourmet Club, and won an award as an Art Presenter in the Monmouth grade schools. She had a love of the east coast and especially eastern shore Maryland, where her parents finally resided. John always said that she would have a running car at his funeral, at the end of which she would jump in and say, “Go East!” While she did take trips to Maine and the UK, she remained in Monnmouth after John’s death in 2002. She bought and rehabbed her own house, and remained active in social life with her friends and the college. In 2014, after homeowning became a bit much, she moved to Iowa City and resided at Melrose Meadows retirement community. One of her great strengths was the interest she took in other people, whether friends, caregivers, or the staff at UIHC. (Thank you, Alicia West and Nurse Matt!) She kept a lively intellectual interest in topics as varied as European art, British history, nuclear physics, and cosmology. She had always painted in acrylics, and learned Asian style of water color after she came to Iowa City. Her love of desserts stayed constant to the end. She is survived by her sons, Robert Ketterer (Meg) of Iowa City, and Matthew Ketterer (Jane) of Hubertus, Wisconsin; her grandchildren Andrew Ketterer (Rebecca Harris), David TK Spencer (Jessica), John Ketterer (Rosemary), Kate Ketterer, and Daniel Ketterer; and her great grandchildren, Carrlee, Benjamin, and Asher. She was predeceased by her sisters, Nancy Cary Kenny of Baltimore, Maryland, and Martha Cary Marcks of Cincinnati, Ohio. A family graveside service will take place in Boston, New York where many of Margaret’s family are interred. The family is especially grateful for the care and comfort of the staff at the Bird House Hospice Home of Johnson County. We ask that memorial donations be made to The Bird House Hospice Home or Doctors without Borders. To share a thought, memory or condolence with her family please visit the funeral home website @