Marno Batterson, 66, died on July 18, 2013 of breast cancer. Her life was a wonderful journey full of friends, family and adventure. Her only regret about dying was leaving her loved ones. Marno was born on March 7, 1947, to Bob and Margaret (McGinnis) Cleveland. She grew up in St. Louis and moved to Iowa at age 18 to attend Drake University, from which she graduated in 1969.
Marno’s career was very important to her. She served as social worker, supervisor and program manager for Iowa’s child protective services program. In 1997, she began working as senior associate at a small, prestigious non-profit organization, the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington DC. During her work at CSSP, Marno traveled to many states, offering training and technical assistance to child welfare programs and community agencies aimed at improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families. Marno retired from full-time employment at CSSP in 2008, but continued to work part-time there, as well as for the Iowa Department of Human Services until 2011. Most recently, she assisted Iowa stakeholders in implementing DHS’s Parent Partner program.
In 1999, Marno married Darrell Batterson. Together, they combined her two children and his two children. As the years passed, six grandchildren were added to the family. Marno and Darrell enjoyed hiking and bicycling. They hiked in many states, most notably to the Colorado River at Grand Canyon National Park. They also traveled and hiked in the Swiss Alps, the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu, Peru, South Korea and New Zealand. They were avid bicyclists, riding RAGBRAI in 2010 and 2011. The 2011 RAGBRAI ride was undertaken just four days after learning that her cancer had metastasized. Despite this set-back, Marno and Darrell continued to live life to the fullest and loved each other deeply. Marno and Darrell spent a lot of time with their children and grandchildren, enjoying family trips, outings and time on the couple’s beautiful acreage in rural Jasper County.
Marno was passionate about looking out for the underdog and worked hard to promote unabashedly liberal causes. She served as precinct captain for President Obama in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses in 2008.
Marno leaves behind many family members and friends. She will be especially missed by her husband, Darrell; children, Janet Willer (Toby), Christopher Mayer (Danielle), Chad Batterson, and Keri Van Zante (Cory); grandchildren, Campbell Sangster, Atticus Harris, Jake and Lily Batterson, Mia Van Zante and Ella Weber; her father and step-mother, Bob and Marilyn Cleveland; and her dog, Kate. Marno was preceded in death by her mother, Margaret Cleveland.
A memorial service will be held Aug. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Windsor Heights Community and Events Center, 6900 School Street (Colby Park) in Windsor Heights. The service will be followed by a party to celebrate Marno’s life. Memorial contributions may be made to Center Friend’s Church, Iowa Citizens for Community Action, or the Catholic Worker House.