Betty Anne Ward McCaskill, the mother of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who was also a former politician, passed away at the age of 84.
McCaskill passed away on Monday after struggling for a long time with heart and kidney problems at her home in St. Louis, reports The Washington Post.
Claire McCaskill is locked in an incredibly close re-election race with Republican challenger Representative Todd Akin. She has put her campaign aside, however, to spend time with her family.
She cancelled most of her campaign events beginning last week so that the could spend time with Betty Anne McCaskill. The Senator spoke on Saturday, saying that her mother was suffering from acute cardio-renal failure and lost consciousness multiple times in recent days.
In announcing Betty Anne McCaskill’s death, her daughter stated:
“For some time, Mom’s health has not been good, and our family takes comfort that she is now at rest. We were incredibly lucky to have a mother like her, a woman of great intellect and strength, who loved and nurtured, challenged and pushed, and was always there with wise counsel and great humor.”
The Huffington Post notes that Betty Anne McCaskill made her own mark in politics as a Democrat. Her daughter recalled that her mother sent her children out on Halloween in 1960, where they knocked on doors and said, “Trick or treat and vote for JFK.”
She was appointed to the Missouri Commission on the Status of Women in 1970, where she helped evaluate what opportunities women in Missouri government, education, and business had.
She was the first woman to be elected to the Columbia, Missouri, City Council the next year. Following her career in politics, McCaskill was a financial consultant for Waddell and Reed in Kansas City.
The Senate race between Betty Anne McCaskill’s daughter and Todd Akin was thrust into the national spotlight after Akin remarked in mid-August that women can avoid pregnancy in the case of “legitimate rape.” While he apologized soon after, Claire McCaskill has highlighted the comment, portraying Akin as an extremist who is out of touch with women’s issues.
Akin expressed his condolences on Betty Anne McCaskill’s death, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole McCaskill family right now.”
Betty Anne McCaskill is survived by Claire and her sisters Anne Moroh and Lisa Finn, as well as one son (Will McCaskill), six grandchildren, step grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.