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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Mary Jane Minasola, it is easy to see both her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was always willing to go above and beyond to serve those around her in ways both great and small. Nothing brought Mary Jane greater joy than spending time with her loved ones, even in the simplest of moments. No matter what it was, she faced challenges head-on with a spirit of fierce determination that was so inspiring. Forever loved, Mary Jane will be deeply missed by those who knew her best.
The 1940s are remembered as years of turmoil for the United States and the rest of the world. WWII raged across the globe for the first half of the decade. Rationing on commons goods such as rubber, paper, coffee, and canned goods became a way of life for all Americans nationwide. Even as the conflict wore down in the later half of the decade, there was still much to be done. It was during this trying time that Andrew and Mary Alice (Christian) Anderson were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their new baby. On May 23, 1947, their wait was over as they welcomed their daughter, Mary Jane, into the world.
Growing up, Mary Jane was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids alongside her five siblings. Though the Anderson siblings sometimes fought, they were always there for each other when it mattered most. Throughout her childhood Mary Jane attended local schools, including St. Francis Elementary. Though she was known to be on the quiet side, she met her dearest friend, Diane Brand, in kindergarten. Mary Jane and Diane would remain best friends throughout their entire lives. Mary Jane attended Catholic Central High School and graduated in 1965, ready to move on to bigger and better things.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Mary Jane during these years. It was during her time at Catholic Central High School that she met Joseph Minasola. The two became high school sweethearts and went on to get married in 1968. Mary Jane and Joe moved around for a while before settling into their home on Rosalie NW, which would become their family home. Joe worked for Haviland and ran his own cleaning company, Minasola Brothers Cleaning, while Mary Jane worked as a seamstress and a homemaker.
All who knew Mary Jane can certainly agree that, of all the things she loved in life, she treasured her family above all else. She and Joe were overjoyed to welcome their three children, Joseph Jr., Christian, and Dawn, into their hearts and home. Mary Jane thrived in her role as a mother and dedicated herself to raising her children. In 1978, the Minasola family was devastated to lose their husband and father, Joe Sr., to a brain tumor. Mary Jane grieved her husband, but she was always grateful for the years and children they shared together. Later in life, she was thrilled to become a grandmother as well. Mary Jane adored her grandchildren and doted on them whenever she could. She loved hosting family gatherings and holidays. Mary Jane met and spent many years with Phil Smith until he passed away in 2015. When she began to struggle with her health in recent years, she leaned on the care of support of her family, especially her daughter, Dawn, and granddaughter, Madison. Mary Jane always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Mary Jane was never afraid to work hard in order to provide for herself and her loved ones. After Joe passed away, she decided to go back to school and pursue further education. Mary Jane then began working at Butterworth Hospital as a scrub tech. She went on to build a fulfilling career of service for herself. Following her Parkinson’s diagnosis in the mid 2000s, Mary Jane retired, leaving behind more than 40 years of devoted care.
Never one to sit still for long, Mary Jane pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. She enjoyed shopping at garage sales, and she found a simple joy in keeping a clean house and neat yard. Mary Jane loved gardening and growing vegetables. She liked to listen to Frankie Valley and read books of all genres, especially mystery, suspense, and history. Mary Jane was known to rise early to get started on her day, and she was an avid collector of dolls and antiques. She would often say, “Expect the worst and then when it doesn’t happen, you won’t be disappointed.” Mary Jane liked to always be well put together and have her hair, nails, and makeup done at all times. Later on, she enjoyed playing slots and buying scratch offs. Mary Jane took many trips to local casinos and even Las Vegas to play. She loved watching movies and predicting the plot twists. More than anything, Mary Jane enjoyed spending time with her friends and family.
As her family and friends can surely attest, Mary Jane Minasola truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times. Mary Jane’s primary focus was building deep and personal relationships with those around her. She was a compassionate soul with a heart for service. Though she will be dearly missed, Mary Jane leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
MINASOLA – Mary Jane Minasola age 76, of Grand Rapids, passed away on December 9, 2023. Mary Jane is survived by her children, Joe (Michele) Minasola, Christian Minasola and Dawn (Giuseppe) Rotella; grandchildren, Dominick, Madison, Noah, Taylar, Maximus, Myah, Sienna and Alexandra. Also surviving are her sisters, Judy (Anthony) Proia and Marguerite Howland; brother-in-law, Wayne Dobson; and several nieces and nephews. A special thank you to Edison Christian Health Center for the loving cares shown to Mary Jane during her stay. A memorial visitation with food and beverages will be held from 5-7 PM on Saturday, December 16, 2023 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation. Please visit www.heritagelifestroy.com to read Mary’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or sign the guestbook.