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Mary Jane  Stewart-Yonkers

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“We are saddened to hear of Mary's passing and are sending hugs to Sue, Scott, and the entire family. Even though we haven't seen you in a while, we...Read More »
1 of 5 | Posted by: Kathy and Scott Everett - Portage, MI

“Mary was a joy to be around. Aunt June, Cousin Linda, Cousin Donna, my mother Betty, and I would enjoy lunches sharing stories where we would end up...Read More »
2 of 5 | Posted by: Carol Morris-Mier - Kalamazoo, MI

“What a wonderful woman!!! God surely broke the mold when He made Mary! She will be sorely missed. Love you Mary! ”
3 of 5 | Posted by: Renee Mielke - Portage, MI

“I will always cherish the many memories this beautiful lady gave me. She was my loving Aunt Mary. She away's had a wonderful sense of humor and...Read More »
4 of 5 | Posted by: A friend

“I miss Mom...love you so very much! ”
5 of 5 | Posted by: Kathy Yonkers - Portage, MI


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Mary Jane Stewart Yonkers of Portage, MI

Mary, age 89, died Wednesday morning August 3, 2016 at her daughter's residence, with her loving family at her side.

Mary Jane Stewart Yonkers, the beloved daughter of Ralph and Florence (Daniels) Stewart, was born in Kalamazoo, MI on July 11, 1927 and was a lifetime area resident. She was a 1945 graduate of Nazareth Academy, received her Bachelors Degree in Social Work Cum Laude from Nazareth College and her Masters Degree in Psychology with Honors from Western Michigan University. Mary was the first female Adult Probation Officer in the City of Kalamazoo, MI. The City of Kalamazoo by unanimous vote of the City Commissioners passed a resolution on December 26, 1986 honoring her for excellent and meritorious service. The resolution noted Mary had been responsive to the needs of her clients and of the community and had served with both loyalty and integrity. She had implemented and coordinated the community work program; a program where individuals in need who have been convicted of a crime are given the opportunity to perform community service in lieu of the payment of fines and costs. This program resulted in the contribution of over $150,000 in services to non-profits agencies in the Kalamazoo community. Additionally, Mary conceived, developed and supervised the Selected Offenders Program; a successful program designed to provide individuals charged with prostitution an opportunity to improve their life's circumstances. After retirement from the City, Mary practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She offered the 'ability to pay' option for her clients. As a caring woman with deep felt integrity and moral character, Mary never turned anyone away for lack of funds.

Mary Jane Stewart Yonkers embraced her Catholic faith as a member of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church of Portage. She performed home visits for the parish and was a member of the Resurrection Choir. Mary was a member of the Nazareth Association as an alumna of both the Academy and College. She enjoyed activities and travels with the local Red Hat Ladies. Mary was "born to shop" and loved to travel, being a "history buff", especially to historic places. She enjoyed cooking with recipes from her massive cookbook collection. Mary's greatest joy was spending time with her family!

Mary was united in marriage to Emerson Yonkers, Jr. in Kalamazoo on July 19, 1948. He served with honor in World War II in the 'Red Bull', 34th Army Division. Emerson sadly preceded her in death on April 16, 1996. Surviving are four daughters, Mary Jo Cooper of Mattawan, MI, Jane Marie (Grant) Johnson of Portage, MI, Kathryn S. Yonkers of Lawton, MI and Susan Eileen (W. Scott) Johnson of Portage, MI; eighteen grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Mary was also preceded in death by her parents, her sister Joan and four brothers, Keith, Jack, Karvel and Robert Stewart.

Mary's family will greet family and friends during her wake on Tuesday, August 9th from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home, Richland Chapel, 9170 East D Avenue (M-89), Richland, MI. The Funeral Liturgy to celebrate Mary's life will be held on Wednesday, August 10th at 11:30 a.m also at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home, Richland Chapel, Richland, MI with Father Kevin A. Covert as Celebrant. The Interment will follow. She will be laid to rest next to her beloved husband, Emerson, at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, MI. There will be a Celebration of Life's reception held after the Interment at Jane (Grant) Johnson's home on West Lake, Portage, MI. Memorials contributions in Mary Stewart Yonkers's honor may be directed to the Nazareth Association, P.O. Box 224, Nazareth, MI 49074-0224. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.