Vigen Memorial Home obituary – Martha J. Barclift, 82, Keokuk

Martha Jane Barclift, 82, of Keokuk, IA died Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

 Martha Jane Barclift, 82, of Keokuk, IA died Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, IL.

     She was born January 13, 1939 in St. Joseph Hospital, Keokuk, IA to William John and Janie Grace Veatch Sigmund, the second of three daughters.  

     She was educated in the Keokuk Public Schools and attended American Institute of Commerce in Davenport, IA.  

     She was employed at The Hubinger Co., later J.C.Penny Co. and Keasling’s Drug Store.  In 1978 she took over her family business after the sudden death of her father.  She also helped start up Sew N Works while continuing to run Sigmund Brothers, later moving Sigmund Brothers into her home.  She also was employed by her son-in-law and daughter at Winners Circle.  

     During her lifetime she was involved in the Boy and Girl Scouts.  She was a homeroom mother and PTA member during the years of her children’s education.  As well as being a faithful member of St. Francis and All Saints Parishes, she was on the Parish Council and President for a year.  She was a TTT member and held many offices.  She was on Main Street Keokuk Board.  For many years, Martha was on the board and held the office of President at Parkridge Sheltered Workshop in Montrose, IA.   She also had been on the board of the Keokuk Area Group Home (later named the Mary Sue Jackson Home) as well as a member of the Keokuk Building and Housing Advisory Appeals committee.

     Martha loved cooking and baking.  She made wonderful sour cream coffeecakes, soups, “snifla” dumplings and pies.  She once entered a pie baking contest and won first place for her pineapple pie.  Martha lived on Middle Road for many years, where she was known to her neighbors as “the Mayor of Middle Road”.  She enjoyed working in her yard and spent hours tending to it.  She deservingly won the Keokuk Pride Award twice. She was also a skilled seamstress.  She enjoyed vacationing in the Ozarks and loved her boat, Ka-Mar-Ru.  She also loved her Pepsi and cigarettes.  Martha was a people person and never met a stranger.    She had a zest for life and her laugh and smile were contagious.  She enjoyed going out to lunch with her four different lunch groups.  Martha was a devoted mother who raised her children on her own and with the grace of God.  It was the time spent with family that she treasured most and never missed an opportunity to spend time with her grandchildren, who were her life.  She also loved her grand dogs.  

     She is survived by the loves of her life, her four children.  James Stephen (Pam) Barclift, Jane Kathryn (Lync) Fellows, Sgt. Richard William (Becky) Barclift and Julie Lynn (Brent) Fischer,  nine precious grandchildren who called her “Grannie”,  Daniel, Jennifer and Megan Fellows, Chris Barclift, Lindsey Fischer, Brittany, Brooke, Jonathan and Maggie Barclift and a great-grandson, Clay.  Also surviving is one sister, Ruth (John) Gazzola of New York as well as cousins, uncles and many friends.  

     Martha was preceded in death by her parents, maternal and paternal grandparents, her sister, Kathryn Ryan, aunts, uncles and many dear friends.  

     According to her wishes, she was cremated. 

     Visitation will be held after 1 p.m., Monday at the Vigen Memorial Home in Keokuk with the family meeting with friends from 4-6 p.m.  A vigil service will be held at 6 p.m. 

     A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, at All Saints Parish with Father David Brownfield, Ph.D. officiating. A celebration of life and burial in Oakland Cemetery in Keokuk will be held at a later date. The funeral mass will be lived streamed and may be viewed on the Church of All Saints Facebook page or on their YouTube site which can be found at   Masks are required and social distancing requirements will be in place at both the church and the funeral home.  

     Memorials may be made to the Keokuk Animal Shelter or Quincy Notre Dame softball.

     Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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