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Mary Ann Utterback

mary ann utterback
Mary Ann Utterback, age 95, moved to heaven, Thursday March 26, 2020 at the New Hampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center with her family by her side. A private family service will be held 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at the Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory in New Hampton with Rev. Willy Mufata from First United Methodist Church presiding. PLEASE JOIN THE FAMILY TUESDAY AT 11:00 A.M. VIA FACEBOOK LIVE ON THE HUGEBACK JOHNSON FUNERAL HOMES FACEBOOK PAGE. Private interment will take place following the service at the New Hampton City Cemetery. If so desired, memorials may be made to the New Hampton Music Program or the First United Methodist Church. Mary Ann Utterback was born on Dec. 4, 1924, to James Roy and Lillie (Spaete) Nilges in Jefferson City, Missouri, where her father ran a shoe factory. The family later moved to Kirksville, Missouri, where Mary Ann graduated from high school. She attended business school and took a job in St. Louis, and one night, she went on a blind date with a young man named Robert Utterback, who was smitten with Mary Ann from the start; in fact, he proposed to her that night and her response was “we’ll see.” The two corresponded with each other while Robert served his country, and when he returned, the “we’ll see” turned into “I will.” Mary Ann and Robert were married on Aug. 11, 1946, at the United Methodist Church in Kirkwood, Missouri, and the new bride encouraged her husband to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and go to school and study music. While her husband attended Truman State College, Mary Ann worked as a secretary and helped her husband write his papers and work toward his degree. After Robert graduated, the Utterbacks moved to Iowa, where Bob first taught at Waverly-Shell Rock and then moved to New Hampton, where he was the high school band director for 35 years. Their family grew as time went on with the birth of their children — Robert Jr., Judith, David, Kathleen and Scott — and they remember their mother as a woman who knew the value of hard work, was a wonderful cook, had a huge garden and was careful with her family’s money. Mary Ann expected her children to work, and all of them recall that garden and the sound of the pressure cooker in their house as mom canned and prepared a winter’s worth of food. On Saturday mornings, if the kids weren’t up, she’d remove the sheets from under them but the tradeoff was pretty good because Mary Ann made the best-ever cinnamon rolls. The Utterback children also fondly remember “movie nights” on Saturdays when Mary Ann would pop the popcorn, and the five children would share a 16-ounce Pepsi. Today, they recall a childhood in which their parents never fought, never drank and never cussed. She loved to return to Missouri to visit her mother in Jefferson City at Christmas and during the summer when her children were younger, and they remember packing a cooler with baloney sandwiches so they’d have enough to eat on the road. Later in life, she was a wonderful grandmother and great-grandmother. She worked for more than 30 years as a secretary at Supersweet Feeds in New Hampton, yet always found the time to support her husband and her children, put a delicious meal on the table, darn socks, wash clothes, hang them up on the line, mend clothes, cut and/or perm hair and all the other things that made for a wonderful home. She was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church and participated in numerous church activities. Mary Ann also was one of the most tech-savvy 90-something-year-olds you would ever meet. She had a passion for Bridge, and if she couldn’t play “in person,” she’d play it on her iPad. She kept track of her finances on Quicken and used a Kindle to read her books. In 2015, her husband of 68 years passed away, but Mary Ann kept going, and when she moved into Kensington Place in August 2018, she made new friends and found Bridge players who loved the game as much as she did. In so many ways, she was an amazing woman who lived a life of wonderful example to her family and friends. Although her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will certainly miss her, they are grateful that she is now reunited with Bob, the man who wrote a song years ago, called it “It Happened on a Blind Date” and dedicated it to this remarkable woman. She is survived by four children, Judith (Alan) Hewitt of Tulsa, OK, David (Terry) Utterback of New Hampton, Kathleen (Bob) Ayers of New Hampton, Scott Utterback of Davenport, IA; ten grandchildren; eighteen great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, one son, Robert Utterback Jr.; daughter-in-law, Debbie Utterback; two brothers, James R. Nilges and Robert B. Nilges.

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Memories Timeline


  1. I’m sorry to know of the death of Mary Ann. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I have fond memories of her at the time of your dad’s death.

  2. Our condolences to you Kathleen and your brother. What a long life your mother had! Many, many memories for you and the grandkids! Deb and Roger Lantzky

  3. May the memories of your loved one console you today. All our prayers to her family. Jeanne and David Roder

  4. Sending my sympathy and prayers to the family and your Mom was a wonderful caring lady. We always had good talks when we saw each other.

  5. I remember Mary Ann’s warm smile and the twinkle in her eyes when I saw her in the bank. She was a whiz with numbers, and I was in awe of her computer skills! We are so sorry for your loss…..

  6. This beautiful lady was a very special person in my life during the six year’s I served as her pastor at New Hampton UMC and continued until this time. Mary Ann was lively, loving caring and never missed an “I love you” when our visits ended. Visiting with her so often held much laughter as she relayed pieces of her families lives. There was never a loss for words visiting Mary Ann. Her words, her smile and her life were priceless for all of us who knew her. Rest in heaven Mary Ann, I am sure you are smiling. God’s love & mine too. Pastor Candie

  7. Regards to all your family on the loss of a very special woman. Mary Ann was always friendly and upbeat when we talked. Your parents left a great legacy here in New Hampton.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss, Dave and Terry. Prayers for you and your family during this difficult time. May memories of the past sustain you.

  9. To Mary Ann’s Family Our sincere sympathy and prayers go to you. Enjoyed knowing and the friendship of Mary Ann and Bob over the years.

  10. To all of Mary Ann’s family: My sympathy and prayers are with you. She was such a nice and friendly person. God’s love and peace be with you.

  11. Our prayers and love are lifted up to your family. Your mother always had time to stop and visit. She was truly a loving and beautiful lady.

  12. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful lady! My thoughts are with you as you celebrate her life. Rachel Ysbrand

  13. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear mother. Please know that my heart goes out to all of you in the family: Judith, Kathleen, David, and Scott and all the members. I know you as my own siblings and family through Judi as I love her just as a sister. May the Lord be with you all. Linda Rae Armbrecht from Colo, Iowa.

  14. Thank you so much P Candie. Your writing at her service was such a joy and so appreciated! Thank you for your many visits with her and for being a loving friend to her! David and Terry

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