Mary Margaret DeBower

Mary Margaret DeBower, age 73, of Allison, Iowa, was born the daughter of Albert and Doris (Mortvedt) Harms on July 7, 1947, in Waverly, Iowa.  She was baptized and confirmed at St. James Lutheran Church in Allison.  Mary graduated from Allison-Bristow High School.  She attended Luther College and graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree.  Mary also received a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Iowa State and a Master’s Degree in School Administration from the University of Northern Iowa.

     On March 30, 1969, Mary was united in marriage with Russell Dean DeBower in Allison.  During her career, Mary taught at United Community School in Boone, Iowa, Collins Community School in Collins, Iowa, and Allison-Bristow Community School in Allison.  She taught 4th grade, home economics and was a guidance counselor.  She truly loved education and learning.  Mary and Russ were also foster parents and opened their home to over 50 children. 

     Mary was involved at St. John Lutheran Church in Clarksville, Iowa, including being the children’s choir director.  She was active in 4-H as a member, a leader, and a judge for several county fairs. Mary enjoyed gardening, sewing, scrapbooking and boating. 

     Mary died Thursday, March 25, 2021, at the Clarksville Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Clarksville, of complications of MS and ovarian cancer.  Mary is preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Doris Harms; a brother, Ted Harms; and a brother-in-law, James DeBower.

     Mary is survived by her husband of 51 years, Russ DeBower of Allison; two children, Brian (Linda) DeBower of Aplington and Betsy (Mark Miller) DeBower of Burlington, Iowa; five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a sister, Anne (Steve) Peterson, a brother-in-law, Kenneth (Margaret) DeBower, a sister-in-law, Mary DeBower; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

     A memorial service for Mary was held 11 a.m., on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at St. John Lutheran Church in Clarksville, with Pastor Charles Underwood officiating.  Organist was Sharon Leerhoff and she accompanied the congregation as they sang “Praise to the Lord the Almighty”, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”, “How Great Thou Art” and “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”. 

     A graveside service was held at 2 p.m., on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at Lynwood Cemetery in Clarksville.  Memorials may be directed to the Cedar Valley Hospice or to your own favorite charity.  Redman Funeral & Cremation Services in Clarksville is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be left at


Tribune-Journal & Star

101 N. Main St.
P.O. Box 788
Clarksville, IA 50619
Phone: 319-278-4641

Mid-America Publishing

This newspaper is part of the Mid-America Publishing Family. Please visit for more information.