Betty Anne Ward McCaskill, 84, the mother of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and a political trailblazer in her own right, died Monday at her home in St. Louis after a long struggle with heart and kidney problems, the senator said.
The first-term Democratic senator, who is locked in a close re-election race with Republican Rep. Todd Akin, had canceled most of her campaign events starting last week to spend time with her mother.
Long before her daughter entered Missouri politics, Ms. McCaskill had made her own mark in Democratic circles. In 1970, she was appointed to the Missouri Commission on the Status of Women. The next year, she became the first women elected to the Columbia, Mo., City Council.