IRONTON, Mo. - With loving memories and heavy hearts, we bid farewell for now. Mom, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother and Friend. On Sunday, June 21, 2020, Claudia Mae Ackley passed peacefully from this life surrounded by her four children and husband of 64 years.

Claudia was born July 3, 1935 in St. Joseph, to John and Ruth Baeunlein. She was set to celebrate her 85th birthday with her 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, as was done every year, without fail. Matriarch to our unique, dynamic and ever-growing family, she was directly responsible for all the love, devotion and friendship that are obvious and apparent for anyone to see.

Loving wife to Larry A. Ackley; mother to Cynthia M. McCool of Nesbit, Mississippi, Barton A. Ackley, wife Rhonda of Ironton, Ellen K.Pannier, husband Darryl of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Allen R. Ackley, wife Hilary of Laquey, Missouri; Grandmother to Brian, Ross, Garrett, Rebecca, Chelsea, Drake, Meghan, Melia, Kassidy, Addison, Dakota, and Emmalee; Great-grandmother to Avery, Carter, Jase Lawrence, Genevieve, Kensley, Jase Alfred, and Wade.

Claudia graduated from Central High School in St. Joseph in 1953, and St. Joseph Junior College in 1956. She married Larry in that same year and began what would become the golden standard of a loving, caring marriage to which all of us, in one way or another, strive to attain.

In addition to raising and caring for a family of four children, two of which were twins, Claudia was also constantly employed in various clerical jobs. She spent time employed in the Business Office of Kansas University; the Superintendent of Schools Office in Shenandoah, Iowa; the Superintendent Office in Columbia, Missouri; as well as the Superintendent Office in Farmington, Missouri. She worked for the Republic-Monitor Newspaper in Perryville, Missouri; and finished her employment with Kiefner Brothers Construction Company in Cape Girardeau, where she was Office Manager. To say that she spent her professional life taking care of administrative men and making sure they were on the straight and narrow path, would not be an exaggeration. After her retirement, she was able to travel and spend numerous winters with Larry on various trips to New Mexico and Arizona; and of course, loved supporting all her grandchildren in their many activities.

Claudia and Larry were married on June 8, 1956. They were both young and had many aspirations for the future, centered around the love they had for each other, and the life and family they wanted to create together. They moved quite often, especially in the early years; finishing degrees and going to places that held the jobs they needed to move forward with their plans. No matter what changes came their way, the love they had for each other and their children was always obvious and at the forefront of all they did. Through it all, from the beginning, Claudia was always steady with her love, steady with her kindness, steady with her devotion to her family. To know her was to know the very definition of love. And we are all better for it.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital or the American Cancer Society in memory of Claudia Mae Ackley.

A private celebration of Claudia's life will be held at a later date. As published in the St. Joseph News-Press.