Margaret Cary (Cary) Ketterer

1924 - 2021

Iowa City, iowa formerly of Monmouth, Illinois


Margaret Cary Ketterer, age 96, formerly of Monmouth, passed away on June 30, 2021 at the Bird House Hospice Home in Iowa City, Iowa after a brief battle with cancer. 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 Monmouth 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 home owning became a bit much, she moved to Iowa City and resided at Melrose Meadows retirement community. One of her greatest strengths was the interest she took in other people, whether friend, 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. Her love of desserts stayed constant to the end. She is survived by her sons, Robert Ketterer (Meg) of Iowa City, Iowa 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 is preceded in her death by her parents, husband, and her sisters, Nancy Cary Kenny of Baltimore, Maryland, and Martha Cary Marchks 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, Iowa. 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 

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301 South Main St., Monmouth, IL

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Joyce Patterson

July 14, 2021 6:39 PM

My heartfelt and deepest sympathy to all of you.

Joyce Patterson
Pi Beta Phi Sister

Margaret Kyra was a very lovely lady to know to visit with and to do business with. We felt honored to be chosen as their pharmacist well in Monmouth.

July 3, 2021 9:43 PM

Margaret was a very lovely lady to know to visit with and to be able to serve her pharmacy needs.  She and Dr. killer Burger‘s wonderful people in a real asset to Monmouth College and to Monmouth.

Vicki Lowder Young

July 3, 2021 9:08 PM

I was a biology student of Dr. John Ketterer at Monmouth College in the early 1970s. I met his son Robert while working one summer in the Green Army when Rob was hired for painting and I was hired cleaning dorms. I had the privilege of attending John Ketterer's memorial service in 2002. Margaret was a classic and women like her forged a nation. My condolences to Robert and Matthew.

Jim Vugteveen

July 3, 2021 5:01 PM

I first met John in Cardiac Rehabilitation. I loved his sense of humor, one morning during a rain storm, John played Handel's Water Music. I learned all about Microbiology from John. After John's death, Margaret moved into our neighborhood. I loved her conversions, I even stopped at Melrose Place during a visit to Internal Medicine at U of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. I will miss her very much.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Margaret Cary Ketterer

July 3, 2021 1:31 PM
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