Mary Jane Andrews was a beloved great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and wife during her incredible 92+ years of life. She passed away peacefully, surrounded lovingly by her son Chris and daughter-in-law Geri in the late hours of Thursday, March 31, 2022. She is survived by her sons Brian and Christopher Andrews and wife Geri. Mary Jane is additionally survived by her grandchildren Ryan Andrews & wife Chelsea Andrews, Kelsi Andrews, and extended family Steve & Cyrus DeSantis, Mike & Nikki DeSantis, and great Granddaughter Ellie DeSantis.
Mary Jane was born on October 11, 1929 in Detroit, Michigan where she lived for 92 years before relocating to Fort Myers, Florida. She was the daughter of Mildred Morris, a successful Jazz and Blue singer with the Jimmy Dorcey band in the 30’s. After her mother passed away at an early age, Mary Jane was just 7 years old, she was raised by her grandparents. A little-known fact is that Mary Jane was the namesake of the cartoon character Buck Rogers' ship, the MJ7, as her mother Mildred had been engaged to the writer of the Buck Rogers series at the time.
Mary Jane, or MJ as she was affectionately known, was the embodiment of the values and virtues of the era she grew up in, a woman guided by the principles and perseverance of her time. She was simultaneously filled with boundless love and tough as nails grit. She rarely ever complained, despite hardship, and looked rather to her faith, her family and her community for comfort and succor. She was as apt to bring you in line as she was to lend you a hand and was seen as a pillar of her community in Livonia where she lived and contributed for over 65 years.
Growing up in the 30s in Detroit, Mary Jane learned quickly the true value of love and respect of others despite having very little. During World War II, she worked in a Brake factory in Detroit to help contribute to the US Army, acting as a real life Rosey the Riveter. After the war she married Eugene Andrews, a decorated war veteran and love of her life in 1957 and raised two boys, Brian and Christopher.
Mary Jane was always keeping herself busy, never one for idle hands. When she wasn't being a loving mother and wife, Mary Jane worked for over 40 years for the St. Jude's Children's hospital, exemplifying her faith as a devout Christian. She was also a pioneer of her time, having started many work from home businesses before COVID ever made it the trendy thing to do, while also having worked in a range of industries from retail to electronic supplies.
Among her group of closest friends, she and her husband also formed a club, known as the Flavin Deorner (Flying Eagle in Polish) around their combined passion of skiing. For over 30 years the group of 12-16 friends would travel around the world to ski locations, starting in the early 50's all the way through the 80's with their whole families. This passion for skiing was passed down to Mary Jane's children, and onto their children as well, perpetuating this community to further generations.
In her later years, Mary Jane was an avid storyteller. Given she had 92 years of adventure under her belt, there was rarely a situation that she didn't have an anecdote or story for. She loved to talk about her time up north, or her ski trips that she took with their club, or how much Detroit had changed. Most of all though, she loved to tell stories about her 'Gene' as she called her late husband. Their love was a testament to the devotion that they had for each other, persisting even after his death.
Above all else, Mary Jane was a devoted family woman and member of her community. She was everything you could want in a mother and then as a grandmother (and great grandmother). She instilled the same values that she grew up in her children, and was known in her community to always be willing to lend a hand, even going so far as to regularly picking up neighborhood kids from school or helping out at events until she was no longer able to drive. She truly served in the idea of 'it takes a village' and was unselfish to a fault, always putting others and her family before her own needs.
To say that Mary Jane will be missed is a gross understatement. That said however, Mary Jane would never have wanted that. She steadfastly refused the idea of a funeral for when she passed, instead insisting on a celebration of her life, which is what she was when she was still with us. So while she will be missed, she'll be missed fondly and with a smile and a laugh and hopefully a story. She is surely sitting with Eugene now and spinning out for him tales of all the things that he missed, Baileys on ice for her, Manhattan for him, and their dogs around them who he had proclaimed to 'not like very much' until she forced him to get them and he immediately fell in love with.
In lieu of flowers and cards, the family requests that if you feel compelled you can make a donation to Mary Jane's favorite charity, the St. Judes Children Hospital.
The family is having a Celebration of Life event on April 16th from 1pm to 3:30pm at Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville.
Mary Janes’ favorite Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back
May the sun, shine warm upon you face, the rain fall softly upon your fields
And until we meet again, my God hold you in the palm of his hand.
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