Posted: Oct 29, 2012 8:23 PM by KOMU Staff
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Betty Anne Ward McCaskill, the mother of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill and a political trailblazer in her own right, died Monday at her home in St. Louis after a long struggle with heart and kidney problems.
The first-term Democratic senator, who is locked in a close re-election race with Republican Todd Akin, had canceled most of her campaign events starting last week to spend time with her 84-year-old mother.
Long before her daughter entered Missouri politics, Betty Anne McCaskill had made her own mark in Democratic circles.
In 1970, she was appointed to the Missouri Commission on the Status of Women, which evaluated the opportunities for women in Missouri government, education and business. The next year, she became the first women elected to the Columbia, Mo., City Council. She also once served as president for the trustees of William Woods University in Fulton, her alma mater.
During McCaskill's 2006 Senate campaign, her mother traveled around the state with her in an RV, appealing in particular to rural voters and seniors as she discussed the need to close coverage gaps in the Medicare prescription benefits.
Akin expressed condolences in a written statement in which he said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole McCaskill family right now."
In addition to Claire McCaskill, Betty Anne McCaskill is survived by two other daughters, Anne Moroh and Lisa Finn; one son, Will McCaskill; six grandchildren; along with step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis.