Mary Kae Beggs


Mary Kae Beggs, 74, of Agency, IA lost her 12-year battle with uveal melanoma on June 11, 2023.

Mary Kae was born in Ottumwa on December 3, 1948 to Cofer W. and Irene A. Turner Artman. Mary Kae graduated from Walsh High School in 1967. She married Edmon Beggs on November 16, 1968 in Ottumwa.

Mary Kae worked for Graham’s Department Store while she attended Ottumwa Heights. She later was the office manager and bookkeeper for Frymoyer Water World for several years. She worked as a home health aide for the State of Iowa before starting her own scuba business, Dive Iowa. For over 20 years, Mary Kae enjoyed running her scuba shop. Ed taught scuba and Mary Kae made sure everyone was outfitted and equipped appropriately.

She organized multiple scuba diving trips each year. Mary Kae and Ed hosted scores of trips from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, to the turquoise waters of Hawaii, the Caribbean, and South America, to the reservoirs of northern Arkansas. It is uncommon to go anywhere with her that she didn’t bump into someone she knew. Mary Kae was a devoted aunt to her nephew, Mitchell and niece, Erin Kae. She made sure Mitch was scuba certified by eighth grade so he could go on scuba trips with her. Erin preferred chlorinated water, so Mary Kae followed her to swim meets from middle school through college.

She also loved her cats. Every one of them was her favorite. She would rescue them off the street and give them a home.

The family would like to thank Dr. H. Culver Boldt, UIHC Ocular Oncology, for his years of care, support and friendship. She will be missed by everyone who had the privilege of her company.

Those left to cherish her memory are her husband of 54 years, Edmon Beggs; her sister, Jane (Jim) Artman-Andrews of Davenport; nephew, Mitch Petty of West Des Moines and niece, Erin Petty of Chicago, IL.

Mary Kae was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents and numerous extended family.

Visitation will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 14th, at Reece Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Thursday, June 15th, at Reece Funeral Home with Father Patrick Hilgendorf officiating. The family will be present to greet friends prior to the service from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. Burial will be in Shaul Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Heartland Humane Society.

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