Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mary Jane Church, 81

| April 3, 2024 7:45 AM

Mary Jane (Hartman) Church, 81, passed away peacefully on March 19, 2024 in Mesa, Arizona, with her daughters by her side.  Mary Jane was born Feb. 13, 1943 in Saginaw, Michigan to Frederick and Orra Mae Hartman.  

In 1961, she married Thomas Church and was off to Germany where they welcomed their first child, Carma.  They returned to Michigan where they welcomed their son, Louie, and daughter, Cathy.  In 1969 they packed up their family and headed west, bound for Oregon.  They made it as far as the East Lake Shore on Flathead Lake in Montana, where her parents owned a cherry orchard, and fell in love with Montana.  They put down roots in the Abbott Creek Valley in Martin City where they raised their three children.  

Mary Jane worked at the Alpine Center in Coram for years.  She was a quilter and a crafter and opened the Country Store Crafters Mall in Hungry Horse where she sold her creations as well as had booths for other crafters to sell their wares.  She also drove a school bus for Byrd Transportation for years.  She was an avid quilter, made the most beautiful quilts, and lured her daughters and granddaughters into the world of quilting and fabric stashing.  She lovingly gave the quilts away to family and friends (you're smiling if you have one!), and donated innumerable quilts to cancer centers and children's charities.  

In the late 1980s her mom and two brothers came to live with her and Tom, where she cared for them until they passed away.  They spent summers in Montana and winters in Arizona.  After Tom passed away in 2002, she connected with family friend, HP "Pat" McVay, and they had 18 years of adventures together.  In November 2021, she met Don Dunham in Arizona and shared the last two and a half years with him.    

Mary Jane is survived by daughters, Carma (John) Johnson and Cathy (Mike) Nash; daughter-in-law, Suzanne Church; her grandchildren: Brandi (Chris), Tom (Marissa), Bill (Michonne), Lori, Shelby (Jeremiah), Emily, and Dan; her great grandchildren: Jake, Corbin, Harper, Jax, Beau, Colt, Jace, and Emersen.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Frederick and Orra Mae; her brothers, Frederick and Richard; her husband, Tom; and her son, Louie.

We will miss her sweet smile and her joy for life.  A celebration of her life will be held in late summer.