Dorothy Jeanne Seeberger

Dorothy Jeanne Seeberger

Dorothy Jeanne Seeberger

Iowa City

Dorothy Jeanne Seeberger, 88, of Iowa City, passed away Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, at Oaknoll Retirement Residence surrounded by her daughters. A graveside service will be held at Oakland Cemetery, Iowa City, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Stanley Museum of Art.

Jeanne was born on Oct. 21, 1934, in Nance County, Neb., the daughter of Robert Odell Downing and Dorothy Gertrude Bathel. She grew up in and around Lincoln and has always been proud that, at the age of 4, she won first place at the Nebraska State Fair as the healthiest 4-year-old in the state.

After graduating from Sacred Heart High School in Norfolk, Neb., Jeanne married Harold Max Seeberger in 1953 and had six children. She loved her children more than anything and was immensely proud of them and their accomplishments. She raised her family in Missouri, Wisconsin and Ohio. The family lived in Bogota, Colombia, and Quito, Ecuador, for several years in the 1960s. She traveled with her family along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Mount Cotopaxi, had adventures at the bazaars in Otavalo, and was invited to local festivals of the indigenous Quechua people of the Andes Mountains. Jeanne became fluent in Spanish during this period. Her children started calling her Mamacita in South America and continued that practice throughout her life.

Upon the family’s return to the United States, Jeanne began working as executive director at a small health care clinic above a bank in Tiffin, Ohio, where local doctors volunteered their time. Jeanne was passionate about equal health care for all. Through perseverance, ingenuity and hard work, she expanded the clinic (known as Clinicas Migrantes Regional) that provided health care to the migrant farm workers who traveled to Ohio annually. The clinic was associated with the Rural Health Initiative of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Over many years, she expanded the organization to more than 20 dedicated health care clinics throughout northern Ohio, eventually changing the name to Community Health Services and becoming its President and CEO. Around this time, she opened the clinics to all community members in need of high-quality health care. While running the growing organization, Jeanne attended and graduated from Heidelberg College with a Bachelor of Arts and from Bowling Green State University with two Masters Degrees, including honors as a member of the Tau Pi Phi Honorary Society.

Jeanne served on the National Rural Health Care Board in the Chicago region and worked closely with its leadership. She gave keynote speeches at national meetings of the Rural Health Initiative, as well as testifying before the U.S. Congress on the issue of rural health. In 1982, Jeanne was honored with a resolution for outstanding service to the State of Ohio, which was presented to her in a session of the Ohio State Senate.

A great lover of art, Jeanne was a docent for many years at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, and later at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. Once while touring museums in Spain, the translator for her tour group fell ill, so Jeanne stepped in as translator to the delight of the entire group.

Jeanne loved golfing and skiing with her cousins in Arizona. She also loved to garden. Even after she moved into Oaknoll, she continued to help with gardening.

Jeanne is survived by her six children, Terrence Seeberger (Kay) of Canton, Ohio, David Seeberger of Dallas, Texas, Mary Blackwood of Iowa City, Iowa, Joanne Seeberger of Iowa City, Iowa, Matthew Seeberger (Bonnie) of Los Angeles, Calif., and Theresa Seeberger (Laura) of Iowa City, Iowa; four grandchildren, Jessica, Eric, Kent and Grace Seeberger; and sister, Elizabeth Jackson; and brothers, Robert Downing, Lee Bathel, Jack Barratt and Patrick Barratt.

Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents and husband as well as sister, Eileen Wolfe; and brothers, Richard Downing and William Bathel.

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