Memorial Messages for Mary Jane Johnston

These are some of the memorial messages we recieved following Mary Jane’s death.  I apologize for anybody’s I’ve missed.  I have gone through two computers since that time and these are the messages that I managed to salvage.

From Julie Turner:

I was a fellow Alto in MJ’s chorus and I can’t tell you how fond we all were and are of her.  She will be missed very much.

From Shelly Yapp:

I want to convey to all of you my deepest sympathy and empathy.  Losing your Mom’s presence in your life leaves a hole that I’m not sure ever fully heals.  The blessing is that your Mom did not suffer long. She always told me that she never wanted to endure a debilitating disease or event; she just wanted to go and not become a shadow of her former self.  I don’t think your Mom believed it, but my Mom definitely thinks the two of them are together again and I hope so.

From Jennifer Heebink:

Your mom, your mother-in-law, your grandmother, your partner MJ was one of my heros for two reasons.   One, she lived life with an uncommon zest at an age when many have retired in all senses.  That interest and engagement in life made her feel much more my peer than a friend older than my own parents.  Two, she was a faithful friend to my mom, Harriet Heebink, even when it became not the easiest thing to be my mom’s friend and consistent Upwords cohort.  

My partner’s, Marie-Andrée (MA), and  my sadness is great for we have lost a much-loved friend.  We cherish the memories of many meals shared at MJ’s and out ‘n about.   I always looked forward to MJ’s emails, knowing we shared common perspectives in many areas.  She always loved hearing of our life in France over the past year and let me know.  I just returned to California for a visit on Bastille Day (7/14) and one of the names on my “must visit/lunch with” list was MJ.

I shall miss our visits. 

I shall miss our MJ Johnston, her zest, her opinions, book reviews, wonderful laugh and appreciative nature.

I must return to France before the Memorial Service, but MJ will be in my thoughts, as will you whom she loved.

With most sincere condolences to you all

and genuine affection for our MJ,


Mireille and Louis

We’d like to express our deepest sympathy and despite the distance we feel very close to you all as Mary Jane has left us such good memories. We stayed with her a whole week in July two years ago and will never forget  her kindness and sensitivity.

From Kitty selfridge:

I am so very sorry. I am a recent friend; we were on the same trip to Costa Rica in January. I had no idea MJ was ill. She and I have emailed each other funny stories and the like since then. I really enjoyed meeting her. She was funny and warm-hearted, had a great spirit, and was fun to be with. My condolences to Gil Davis and MJ’s family

From Anna Purdy:

Love and every blessing to you all.

Aunt Mary Jane is precious and such a sweetheart. She will never leave our hearts.  Please, let us know how can we help you, are you all staying in your house in Los Altos?  My Fred is very quiet, but we spend time listening to the tapes Uncle Ted and MJ sent him when Fred was in the PC in various countries.  They sound just as if they were in the room.

They are in the room and our hearts. He hopes to be able to put them on CD and share them with you.  Please, remember all the happy memories she made for us all; know that we miss her and love lots forever.

She was, for my family, the only Aunt who shared her life with us; invited the kids for weeks when they were small and old and us too, every chance she could. She was and is the best person, how not to love and miss  her? Aunt MJ left us only happy memories of fun things to do, trips to take and her ever present love and consideration.   Love to you all and your children. 

From Rashhmi Ramgopal:

Our condolonces to the family and  our prayers  to give them strength during this time of sorrow.

From Judie Suelzle:

Thank you for notifying us of MaryJane’s passing.  I am so glad her family was able to be with her at the time.  She will be sorely missed.  I have stood next to her sorting books on Thursday mornings for several years and have always enjoyed her company.  She was a real lady with a heart of gold.  When I think of adjectives to describe her, there are so many wonderful words that I could use, but I am sure that her family knows them better than I do. 

From Mary Mende:

Dear Family of Mary Jane,

I wanted to extend my very deepest sympathy to all of you in the loss of your Mother.  I knew MJ from the water aerobic class that I taught at the YMCA for many years.  She was a wonderful woman a role model for me for so many reasons.  MJ was beautiful inside and out she always gave me support as I was learning to be an instructor, she became a friend and when my husband passed away she was there for me with her strong shoulder.  I moved to Petaluma three years ago and she and I have remained connected by email when we had news for each other.  The last she wrote to tell me how very happy she was with a wonderful man in her life.  I’m so pleased that she found that time of happiness she deserved that and much more.  MJ was one of the most favorite people in my life.  I feel so fortunate to have known Mary Jane as her children you know her as your Mom…she was so much more than that to many, many people in her lifetime.  MJ will always be in my heart and a part of who I am today never forgotten and always loved.

From Mike and Nancy Schneider:

I am so sad to hear about your mother’s passing. It was an honor to know her and work on the parade of lights with her. She  was passionate and committed. She was creative, and she seemed to have fun with her life.  We are going to be out of town that whole week and will not be able to join you in person, but, we will be there in spirit. How wonderful to have a parent to be proud of, and a parent who contributed so much to her community.

Our thoughts are with you.

From Janet and Allen Podsll:

We are so very sorry. Allen and I are longtime members of the Aurora Singers, and Mary Jane was dear to all of us…. We send our love and our sympathy.

From Danielle Maddox:

thank you for letting us  know about our sweet Mary Jane – she was such a joy to know and her gifts of music and ceramics will be missed.

From Jo Anne & Carolyn Thompson:

I am so sorry to learn of your mother’s passing. Her box is kitty-cornered from mine and we used to share so many funny stories, quips, looks, while sorting books on Thursday mornings. She was such a joy and funny lady to work with. I will miss her greatly.

My mother has also suffered 2 strokes since December 26 and weekly I would have to give updates to a few of mom’s ‘buddies at book club.’ In the beginning when mom and I began working at Thursday morning book sorting Mary Jane had trouble remembering my mom’s name and began calling her Margery. We thought it was hysterical and kept it going for quite a while.  In return, mom began calling MJ – Margery. It was our private, standing joke.

There are no words at a time like this, however, please know that both my mother and I keep you in our prayers.

From one of the Aurora Singers:

We in The Aurora Singers are shocked and saddened to learn about Mary Jane. Mary Jane was quietly friendly, she’d move up close with here quiet smile — that’s what I remember. I’m an old guy and I acquired a pacemaker a few years ago. Mary Jane in her quiet way made haste to tell my wife that it’s no big deal. Pacemakers made us buddies. Her quiet inquiring smile stays with me. I’ll be at her memorial service with tears in my heart.

From Nancy Scott:

I received your message on Monday and my heart just broke. It was a very, very sad day. I so appreciate the family sending out the message. Mary Jane was such a very dear friend, I will miss her terribly. We worked on the Festival of Lights together for a number of years. After we both stepped away we decided we wanted to keep the connection and made plans for breakfast or lunch every 3 or 4 months. I looked forward to those outings so much. She always brightened up my life, she was so positive and caring and always made me laugh.


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