Mary Jane Van Vliet Whinery was born to Janette Hospers Van Vliet and Samuel Van Vliet in Pella, Iowa on February 21,1925.
Memorial services will be at 3:00 p.m., Friday, October 18, 2019, at Westminster Presbyterian Church with Nick Garner, associate pastor, officiating. Burial will be private. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Mary attended Pella public schools – kindergarten through 3rd grade. The family moved to Indianola, Iowa in 1934, where Mary’s father owned a hardware store following the crash or 1929-1933. She attended Indianola public schools until graduating in 1943. During midterm of her senior year, Mary and her friend, Avis, were influenced to move to Chicago, Illinois where they lived on block from Lake Michigan on the “Gold Coast”. Mary’s cousin, Carol, joined them there. The three girls explored their new city and enjoyed swimming in Lake Michigan. The girls stayed until Christmas and then returned to Simpson College. Mary earned her way through college. In her sophomore year, Mary was voted “All College Sweetheart. “
After finishing her sophomore year, Mary went to New York with a college sorority sister from Delta Delta Delta. They stayed at a “Girls Club” in Manhattan. Mary worked as a receptionist for Chrysler Air Temps. While there, Mary also contacted the John Robert Powers modeling agency. Mr. Powers was very interested in her modeling for him, but she decided to head back to Iowa where she finished college and graduated with a B.A. in English.
Mary got a position teaching high school English in Knoxville, Iowa She then attended the University of Iowa where she began studying for a Master’s degree in counseling. It was then that she had a blind date and met John, her future husband. They were engaged in October and married in February. These decisions were the best she had made I her life.
Mary and John’s first child, John Jr., was born 17 months later. Their daughter, Janie, was born 17 months after that. John and Mary moved to Amarillo, Texas so John could begin his practice in oral surgery. They moved into their new home in 1955, while also joining Westminster Presbyterian Church. In March, 1957, their second son, Tom, was born. Mary and John raised their family with many adventures at their cabin on Lake Tanglewood water-skiing, and sailing. They also enjoyed snow-skiing in the Rockies. Mary and John saw all their children married and have babies. Mary’s favorite pastime was playing golf with John.
Survivors include John and wife Judeanne, and their two sons, Matthew John and Andrew David; Janie, her daughter, Sarah Jane and twin sons, Graham David and Chester John; Tom and wife Lisa and their two daughters Lisa Kate and Claire Ann. Mary lived to see seven great-grandchildren born. Mary was loved deeply by her family.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to Westminster Presbyterian Church or City Church.