Clara Zeller Obituary

Clara Mae Zeller
Clara Mae Zeller
Clara Mae Zeller

April 8, 1915 - April 18, 2007
Resided in Windsor Heights, IA
  • Contat Us
  • Guestbook
  • Photos
  • Services
  • Send Flowers


Clara Mae Zeller passed away peacefully at the age of ninety-two on April 18, 2007. She was born to Pete and Elle Towns on a farm without running water or electricity in Custer County, Nebraska on April 8, 1915, where she grew up chasing her older identical twin brothers Everett and Clyde (both deceased) across the prairie. After passing the eighth-grade comprehensives at the one-room school house, each Sunday night she rode in her father's Model "T" thirty miles to a rooming house in Broken Bow to attend High School. After graduating in 1933 she eagerly moved to the "big" city of Lincoln, to work as a typist in the state land title office.

Schoolmate Zellis "Zip" Zeller hurried after her, and on January 22, 1937 they were quietly married in Marysville, Kansas so Clara could keep her scarce depression-era "single-girl only" job. In 1941 they moved to San Diego, California, then to Bellevue, Nebraska before coming to Des Moines in 1950. Clara was a homemaker and mom to two daughters, Nancy Shanks and Bonnie Beattie and identical twin sons John and Jim, all of Des Moines. She was a 50-year member at Westminster Presbyterian Church and a sister in P.E.O. She returned to the workforce in 1968 as a typist at the Drake University School of Pharmacy from which she retired in 1983. Following Zip's stroke in 1987, Clara served as his home caregiver until his death in 2003.

She inherited from her Scottish father a "couthie" happy nature and from her affectionate mother a selfless concern for others. Every visitor was welcome for Sunday dinner, where each course of fried chicken and apple or cherry pie met the standards of a county-fair judge. She was the kindest mother imaginable -- unless you caused the angel food cake to fall. She sewed warm winter coats for the twins from fleecy red blankets, darned socks and mended upholstery, and each month Zip wisely handed off the paycheck to her.

In addition to her children, Clara will be missed by her son-in law John Beattie and grandson Bradley Beattie of Des Moines.

In accordance with Clara's wishes, the body has been cremated.

At 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 21, a memorial service will be held at the chapel of Westminster Presbyterian Church, at Beaver and Franklin Avenues. The family will visit with friends during the hour prior to the service in Simmerman Hall. There will be a reception at the family home at 7118 El Rancho in Windsor Heights following the service.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests any bequests be made to Wesley Acres Adult Day Care Center or the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.





Westminster Presbyterian Church
4114 Allison Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50310
Saturday, April 21, 2007
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Westminster Presbyterian Church
4114 Allison Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50310
Saturday, April 21, 2007
11:00 AM


Wesley Acres Adult Day Center
3520 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50312