Ethlyn Wisegarver Bott visited visited many European countries, telling groups of mothers about the work and programs of the American Mothers Committee and urging the recognition of an annual Mother’s Day in the countries where this special day had not been established. In Paris, the Honorable Frederic Dupont, Lord Mayor of the city, conferred upon her a special medal and certificate and presented her with the keys of the City. Later that same year she toured Latin America where she was received with honor in thirteen countries. Her enthusiasm for international friendship continued as she served as Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the American Mothers Committee.
Ethlyn Bott was the first stepmother with no children of her own to be selected as the National Mother of the Year. Born in DeLand, Illinois, Ethlyn Wisegarver was educated in Illinois schools but went to Missouri for college. After graduation from Stephens College, she taught high school for several years before accepting a position on the faculty. Ethlyn enjoyed teaching college students and concerned herself with those who were struggling financially. She was able to interest alumnae groups in adopting a girl in school, supplying her with spending money, clothing and food. At the age of 28, she gave up academic life to become Mrs. Anthony Bott and mother to her husband’s four children. She loved these children whose mother had died five years before, and they returned her affection. Anthony Bott was highly respected in his profession, and served numerous veterinary organizations at home and abroad. Ethlyn took a great interest in his work and served as president of the Women’s Auxiliary of the International Veterinary Association. In 1953, when she was in Sweden, she was especially honored at the XV International Veterinary Congress in Stockholm, as the National Mother of the United States for that year.
Signal Hill Methodist Church in East St. Louis had the loyalty and service of the Bott family. Ethlyn was a member of its official board. She was also active in her missionary circle and the Women’s Society for Christian Service, the YWCA, National Advisory Board for Stevens College, Illinois Board of the D.A.R., Sigma Iota Chi Sorority and Daughters of American Colonists.
Ethlyn Bott won the respect and love of her associates in her community, her state and around the world. Her son Edward summed it up the best when he said, ” Nothing in my life is so important as that day when Dad married Mother.” We are reminded that one of the greatest tributes ever penned – Lincoln’s ” All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother,” was said of a stepmother.