Mary Jane Carroll, Monroe City, Mo., passed away at the age of 86 on Friday, June 28, 2019, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo., while surrounded by her family.
Mary Jane was born on Jan. 17, 1933, in Curlew, Iowa, to Arthur Mills and Katherine Hilke Christoffer Mills. She was married on Feb. 24, 1949, in New London, Mo., to Watson Avery Carroll. He preceded her in death on Oct. 18, 1994. Also preceding Mary Jane in death were her parents and four siblings, Ellen Hayes, Nel Shuck, Iva Dell Shuck and Luke Hoover.
Survivors include one son, Dennis Wayne Carroll (Gina), Monroe City; one daughter, Janet Carroll Bourne (Bill), Town and Country, Mo.; four grandchildren, Scott Carroll (Wendy), Kimberly Nigro (Chris), Kristin Drinen (Jed) and Matthew Bourne (Danielle); nine great-grandchildren: Hannah Carroll, Lilah Carroll, Amelia Carroll, Livia Nigro, Macy Nigro, Nathan Bourne, Camden Bourne, Audrey Drinen and Harper Drinen. Also surviving are several nieces and nephews.
A lifetime entrepreneur, Mary Jane, always enjoyed her work. When asked recently by her grandchildren about a happy time in her youth, she said she loved her job working at the movie theater in Monroe City. She started as an usher at age 10 and worked her way up to ticket sales, where as a teenager, she met her husband, Watson.
Through the years together, Mary Jane and Watson owned and operated many businesses and properties together. When they were first married, they farmed as they started their family with the birth of their son, Wayne.
Soon after, they moved to Chico, Calif., where their daughter, Janet, was born. There, they got into the grocery business, and when they moved back to Missouri 15 years later, they operated several Bi-Rite Grocery Stores in Palmyra, Monroe City, Shelbina and Hannibal.
Mary Jane also developed real estate with her husband as they owned a crafts and antique mall in Monroe City, and developed subdivisions and built houses. They owned many apartment buildings as well, and Mary Jane continued to manage them until just recently, still enjoying her work throughout life.
Mary Jane always made it clear to her children and grandchildren, how much she treasured what a true partnership she and Watson had, in all that they did together. But most important to them both, was their family. In addition to working hard with her husband, she was the consummate mother to Wayne and Janet, from sewing all of their costumes for skating competitions as young children, to even cooking all the food herself for Janet’s wedding reception.
Long road trips to visit family back in Missouri when they lived in California, and camping trips with her grandchildren to the Wisconsin Dells were some of her favorite adventures.
Aside from travel and her business pursuits, Mary Jane enjoyed gardening and keeping her yard and home looking nice. Her antique and crafts mall grew from her love of collecting all sorts of beautiful hand-made creations and glassware throughout her life. A wonderful baker, Mary Jane’s pies were a labor of love that she enjoyed sharing with the most important people in her life, her family.
Mary Jane was a member of the First Baptist Church of Monroe City.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 3, at the First Baptist Church in Monroe City, Mo. Burial will be at Grand View Burial Park in Hannibal, Mo. Pastor Chad McMath will officiate.
Pallbearers will be Steve Carroll, Rich Gordanier, Terry Smith, Scott Carroll, Matt Bourne, Jed Drinen and Chris Nigro.
Friends and family are invited to Mary Jane’s Life Celebration at a visitation that will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 2, at the James O’Donnell Life Celebration Home of Monroe City.
Memorials may be made to the Monroe City Nutrition Center.