Carita Kelleher

Carita A. Kelleher, 95, of West Des Moines passed away on July 24 at Bickford Cottage Senior Living Home with complications from a stroke. 

Carita was born Jan. 31, 1924, to Alfred and Leona Alf in Sheboygan, Wisc. She grew up in Kohler, Wisc., graduating from Kohler High School in 1942 as valedictorian of her class. Carita graduated in 1946 from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in International Relations, specialization Latin America. She began her career working for Freeman Shoes in Beloit, Wisc., and eventually moved to Newton, Iowa, where she was the Assistant Export Manager of Winpower Mfg. Co.

In November of 1960, she married John F. Kelleher of Winterset, Iowa, and moved to the Kelleher Family farm where she embraced farm life – including learning how to drive a car, keeping the farm books, making lunches for the hay and bean crews, while raising three daughters with Jack. They were both active in the Democratic Party and Carita served 12 years as the Madison County Treasurer in Winterset, retiring in 1994.

Carita spent the next part of her life traveling, spending time with her two granddaughters, playing bridge, volunteering and reading. She volunteered at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, serving on the Finance Committee and Capital Campaign Committee. She also volunteered at the Madison County Museum and with Friends of the Library. Carita was active in various clubs, including Progressive Study Club, P.E.O., and Tri-L.

Carita is survived by her daughters, Jane (Richard) Otton of Sydney, Australia, Mary (Tod) Beavers of West Des Moines, and Meg (Steve) Shearer of West Des Moines; granddaughters, Kelly Shearer and Sabrina Shearer; sisters, Virginia Wunch of Wausau, Wisc., and Kathleen Pribnow of Marshfield, Wisc.; sister-in-law, Evelyn Alf of Naples, Fla.; and brother-in-law Dennis Flom of St. Paul, Minn. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack; her sister, Barbara Fromm; and brothers, Al Alf and Marshall Alf.

Carita’s family invites family and friends to join them to celebrate her life at a Visitation at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Winterset on Monday, Aug. 5, from 5-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will take place Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Joseph Catholic Church. 

Memorial contributions can be made in her name to St. Joseph Catholic Church, Winterset and Friends of the Winterset Public Library. 

Arrangements are being handled by Caldwell-Parrish Funeral Home, Winterset Chapel. Online condolences  may be left at