5 stories about local moms you should read this Mother's Day

One in each section of The Gazette

Connie Champion and her daughter Catherine Champion sit in front of Catherine's Boutique in downtown Iowa City on Thursday, August 10, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Connie Champion and her daughter Catherine Champion sit in front of Catherine's Boutique in downtown Iowa City on Thursday, August 10, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Mother's Day gives us a chance to reflect on our relationship with our mothers. They can be our strongest ally, our closest confidant and our dearest friend all at once.

Here are five stories you should read today about local moms, one from each section of The Gazette.


Dealing with loss can be difficult, but there’s a different kind of pain when dealing with the loss of a child.

But Iowa City resident Robin Boudreau said speaking about loss of a child due to stillbirth, miscarriage or other complications can be “taboo.”

“There’s a lot of shame, there’s a lot of guilt, there’s a lot of ‘I want to sweep this under the rug,’” Boudreau said. “Unless you’re affected by it or you’re really close to somebody who’s affected by it, you don’t look for it, you don’t see it, you don’t hear about it.”

Boudreau’s organization hopes to change that mentality. In 2014, she and her husband Ryan Boudreau founded No Foot Too Small, an organization that aims to support families experiencing a fetal or infant death. Read more...



With some emotional help from their friends, two Eastern Iowa women finished a marathon of marathons Monday.

Deb Carneol of North Liberty and Sarah Lacina of Marion were among 50 people from around the world who completed this year’s World Marathon Challenge. They ran a marathon each day for seven days on seven continents, going from Antarctica to Africa to Australia to Asia to Europe to South America to Monday’s finale in Miami Beach, Fla. Read more...


On any given day, if you plan to sit out on the Ped Mall in Iowa City to chat with Connie and Catherine Champion, prepare to be interrupted.

Not rudely, mind you. It’s just that between the two of them, Connie and Catherine Champion know just about every other person walking down the street. From a young college student heading to his after school job, to girlfriends out shopping for new shoes and an elderly couple heading out to dinner, the Champions are greeted by many of their Iowa City neighbors and friends.

Over the last several decades, the mother/ daughter duo has made an impact on their community as business owners and local leaders. Read more...



"My dear mother saw the trials of the human existence through rose-colored glasses and a matching vocabulary. In her world, such woes as death, crime, juvenile delinquency, and mental illness were soothed or eliminated by her special, empathetic language," writes Carroll McKibbin, guest columnist.

"Mom did not allow people to die. In her words, they just went to “the great beyond.” And those committed to the state penitentiary, the boys’ correctional facility, or a regional mental institution she described as “visiting” in Fort Madison, Eldora, and Clarinda respectively, as if they were on vacation.

"Pregnant single girls, a condition my sensitive mother would never describe with such a repugnant term, were said to be “indisposed” and “visiting” in Sioux City, the site of a home for unwed mothers.

"Mom outlawed the use of the word “hate” for her three sons, a high school sophomore, a fourth-grader, and me in first grade. As World War II raged our enemies were typically described in the harshest terms, but not by our mother.

"'What would you suggest, Mom, that I call Hitler,' my eldest brother, Darrell, teased. 'He’s pretty ornery.'

"'Nasty is good enough,' Mom replied."



Michelle Madden, 41, has been cooking all her life.

“As a child, I watched Julia Child on TV. I would rather watch her than cartoons,” she said. “Then I found Martha Stewart and fell in love with her. From age 10 and up, I made the cakes for my grandma at the holidays.”

When she was 18, living in Chicago and cooking meals for her young son and his father, she often found herself with leftovers she wanted to share.

“I don’t know how to cook small,” she said. “I guess I was made for this.”

So she started handing out plates of food to people in her neighborhood. It didn’t take long until she was getting requests, and people were even giving her money to buy groceries for the food they wanted. Read more...

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