Mary Jo McDonald
May 3, 1930 ~ July 27, 2022
Resided in: Bryan, Texas
Mary Jo McDonald peacefully left this earth to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday evening, July 27, 2022, surrounded by her adoring family. She was immediately greeted at Heaven’s gate by her devoted husband of nearly 67 years, Reuben, who had been waiting for her only four short months. Oh, what a joyful reunion it was!
Mary Jo was born in Cooper, Texas, on May 3, 1930. She was the youngest of four daughters born to Florence and John T. Boyd, who valued God, hard work, education and service. Like her sisters, Mary Jo was a quick learner and an exceptional student, as she graduated from Cooper High School and then East Texas State Teachers College in Commerce, Texas (now Texas A&M University—Commerce) in three years each and both with the highest scholastic designation. While at ETSTC, Mary Jo was also unrivaled in her extracurricular activities, as she was elected as president of Kappa Delta Pi, secretary to Alpha Chi, and was a member of Sigma Tau Delta, just to name a few.
With her degree in English and Sociology in hand, Mary Jo began her 44-year career in education in the fall of 1950 as an English teacher and softball coach at Rosebud High School in Rosebud, Texas. It was there that she met Reuben (“Mac”), a handsome Aggie and young USDA soil conservationist working in nearby Cameron, and they married on June 30, 1955, in her hometown. After receiving her Master’s degree in Library Sciences and following her husband in his Civil Service career, Mary moved from the classroom to the library with stops at Southwest Texas State College (now Texas State University) in San Marcos, Texas, as a department librarian, then to New Braunfels High School in New Braunfels, Texas, as Head Librarian and finally to Liberty High School in Liberty, Texas, again as Head Librarian, where she gleefully retired in May, 1994.
Mary Jo and Mac both possessed a lifelong faith in God and were active members of the various Methodist churches in the towns in which they lived. They embraced the Methodist pledge of time, talents, gifts, and service, and instilled these values in their four children, Jon, Carol, Monika, and Doris. Their marriage was a beautiful partnership as each one assumed a hands-on role in their children’s development and activities, ranging from Sunday School, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, vocal and piano lessons to tennis and swimming lessons and state-wide swimming meets, all the while making the love of God and learning top priorities. They exposed their kids to all types of experiences and cultures and traveled the United States, Mexico and even Europe with them. Each child is thankful for the individual blessings Mary Jo and Mac gave them, including but not limited to, the opportunities of a college education and unconditional love.
With a true servant’s heart, Mary Jo participated with enthusiasm and leadership in anything she was asked to do at church. She enjoyed her fellowship with United Methodist Women and serving as the church librarian. She took immense pride in helping to establish a church in South Liberty and going on a mission trip to El Salvador. Her community service is too lengthy to list completely but includes Hunger Busters, a program in Liberty that fed low-income children, the Angel Tree program that provided gifts for children whose parents were incarcerated, and the Texas Democratic Party working as an election clerk. Mary Jo was forever a champion of reading, a lover of all books, and a member of several book clubs. As a great believer that knowledge could open doors, Mary Jo sold World Books and Childcraft throughout the Liberty County community. Even when her grown children asked her a question, her initial response was often, “Have you checked your World Books?”
Mary Jo shared her love for antiquing, gardening, Texas A&M University, and traveling with Mac and their life together was full and enriched. She enjoyed tutoring, line-dancing, and bargain shopping. It was never too early or too late to enjoy a good cup of coffee while visiting with friends! She stood ready for that next adventure or next opportunity to serve. Mary Jo and Mac also cherished time spent with their family, their most precious treasures.
Mary Jo was predeceased by her parents, her husband of 66 years, Reuben B. “Mac” McDonald, Jr.; and each sister, Doris, Helen and husband Milton Rethke, and Tommy and husband Tom Awbrey. She was loved by her two sisters-in-law, Margree Steiner and Mackie McDonald, who also predeceased her.
Left to honor her memory are her children, Jon McDonald and wife Debra of Lake Jackson, Carol Jones of Bryan, Monika McDonald of The Woodlands, and Doris Light and husband Tim of Bryan. Additional survivors include grandchildren: Jessica Dent and husband Ryan of Angleton, Texas; Jason McDonald and wife Connie of Lewistown, Montana; Krista Donatoni and husband Matthew of Long Beach, California; Timothy Light and wife Virginia, of New York, New York; and Taylor Light of Houston, Texas. Five great-grandchildren also survive her: Hannah, Tucker, Kaden, Lucy, and Faye. Mary Jo was so loved and admired by her nieces, nephews, friends, and caregivers. The family wishes to extend their deepest appreciation to the loving staff at Crestview Retirement Community who treated their mother like their own.
Private graveside services for Mary Jo will be officiated by Rev. Rick Sitton, at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, at Prairie Hill Cemetery in Prairie Hill, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, although she dearly loved them, contributions may be made to Hospice Brazos Valley at 502 W 26th St., Bryan, TX 77803; Liberty ISD Education Foundation at 1517 Trinity Street, Liberty, TX 77575; or Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org. Please express condolences online at CallawayJones.com
“Lord, make me a blessing to someone today!” – Jan Karon, “At Home in Mitford”