MOUNT MORRIS – Mary Jane Shoemaker died Friday, June 14, 2013, at Franklin Grove Nursing Center.
She was born Oct. 7, 1928, in Daysville, to Enno A. and Lela (Feary) Stomberg. She married Arthur C. Shoemaker on Nov. 21, 1948, at Lighthouse Church in rural Oregon. He died May 1, 1997. Mary Jane was a graduate of Franklin Grove High School in 1946. In later years, she attended Northern Illinois University, where she received a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in education. She taught special education for Dixon Public Schools for 15 years, and part time at Sauk Valley Community College in the education department.
She was a writer and published four books, including “Pine Creek Recollections – Revisited” (2001) and “Joel’s Journey” (2006). For 8 years, she wrote a weekly column for Ogle County Life, “Pine Creek Natural.” In the 1990s, she and Arthur performed as “Prairie Mary and Arthur Appleseed” – a program about nature, including original music written by the Shoemakers.
She was instrumental, along with other parents, in establishing the Village of Progress, and served on the VOP board from 1968 to 1982, and then again on the board and VOP Foundation Board from 2000 to 2012. She was a member of Disciples United Methodist Church in Mount Morris, where she sang in the Chancel Choir and served many years as lay leader. She was a gifted public speaker and served as Advanced Lay Speaker for the Northern Illinois Methodist Conference. She was a former Methodist Youth Director at Lighthouse Church; a 4-H leader; committeewoman for the Girl Scouts; and a past member of the Performing Arts Guild in Mount Morris. Shoemaker was a member of National Education Association; Illinois Education Association; Ogle-Lee Retired Teacher Association; Ogle County Prairie Association; National Resources Defense Council; Illinois Renewable Energy Association; and Current Events Club.
Survivors include one daughter, Kathy Qualkinbush of DeKalb; two sons, Joel of Dixon and Bradley (Yvette) of Waterloo, Iowa; daughter-in-law, Maja Hackerson Shoemaker; sister, Dorothy Morris of Mount Morris; brother, Franklin (Eloise) Stomberg of Rockford; two granddaughters, Christa Qualkinbush of Willow Springs and Jessica (Charles) Atkinson of Oswego; four grandsons, Nathan (Rebecca) Shoemaker of Chicago, Michael Shoemaker of Oregon, and Thorley and Jovis Shoemaker, both of Waterloo; and five great-grandsons, Tyler, Aidan and Declan Atkinson, all of Oswego, and Michael Durfler and Sebastian Shoemaker, both of Chicago.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 48 years, Arthur; her son, Mark, her parents; two brothers, Charles and Donald Stomberg; and four sisters, Gladys Wallin, Clara Mae Claassen, Floris Dempsey, and Audrey Love.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, 110 S. Seventh St., Oregon. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Disciples United Methodist Church, 102 Maple Ave., Mount Morris. Burial will be at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Dixon.
Memorials have been established to Disciples United Methodist Church and Village of Progress.
Visit www.farrellhollandgale.com to send condolences.