Mary E. Carter, 79, Nichols
Obituaries · April 12, 2013

Mary E. Carter, former Mayor and Postmaster in Nichols, Iowa, died peacefully Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at her home in Nichols.

She was 79, a beloved wife and mother who will be sadly missed and deeply mourned by her family and many in the community. She died of bone cancer following a short illness.

Born Jan. 10, 1934, to Paul and Elsie Boddicker Schallau in their farmhouse near Van Horne, she was the first of eight children. She was graduated from Williamsburg High School and earned her registered nurse diploma from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Iowa City. She was awarded a scholarship from the Iowa Division of the American Cancer Society which provided the necessary financial assistance to enable her to earn her degree.

On April 7, 1956, she married Burt E. Carter of Nichols and together they had three sons: Nick, Bret and Andy. They lived on their farm near Nichols all the years they were married. Initially, Mary worked as a surgical nurse and operating room supervisor at Muscatine General Hospital. In 1967, Mary and Burt started Burtís Tavern in Nichols until Burtís declining health forced his retirement. He died in 1981.

In 1976, Mary began her career with the U.S. Postal Service, first in West Liberty as a mail carrier, then as a clerk in Nichols where she was appointed postmaster in 1978. She served as postmaster until her retirement in 1997. During her tenure as postmaster, she was active in the National League of Postmasters, holding numerous state offices, including president. She was awarded newsletter Editor of the Year in 1985 and Postmaster of the Year in 1992. Following her retirement she continued to serve in the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

Mary was very active in her local community. She served on numerous local clubs, charities and organizations. She was the election official for the Nichols precinct and edited the Nichols Centennial Book. She served on the Muscatine County 911 Commission, on the Nichols City Council and as mayor from 1996 through 1998. She was also very active in her church, St. Maryís of Nichols. She served on numerous committees, was a member of the Altar and Rosary Society and taught Catechism classes for many years.

Mary loved to travel and enjoyed many wonderful journeys around the world with her sister, Lois Burch, and their mother, Elsie. She enjoyed trips around North America, to Europe, China, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, South America and even a cruise to Antarctica.

Mary is survived by her three sons: Nick of Salt Lake City, Bret (Hazel) of Los Angeles and Andy of Nichols; five grandchildren, Justine and Nathan of California and Derek, Rex and Shae of Nichols; six brothers and sisters: James Schallau (Marjorie), Al Schallau (Carol), of California, Donald Schallau of Iowa City, Lois Burch and Anne Guerrant (Terry) of Arizona and Jean Lantz of Chicago.

Mary was preceded in death by her loving husband, Burt; her parents, Paul and Elsie; and her newborn sister, Marcia.

A funeral mass will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 10, at St. Maryís Church in Nichols, followed by a graveside service and lunch at the Church Hall. Visitation was Tuesday, April 9, at the Henderson-Barker Funeral Home in West Liberty, with a Christian Vigil Service with Prayers of the Rosary.

Interment will be at the Nichols Cemetery. Online condolences may be offered at Memorials may be provided to Birthright of Muscatine or to the charity of your choice.

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