Mary Jane Reed (nee, DiGiovanni) was born in 1940 in Cleveland, Ohio and passed away peacefully after a long battle with Alzheimer’s on November 23, 2023 (Thanksgiving Day morning) in Palm Desert, California.
Mary Jane grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, the daughter of Italian immigrant parents (Mary and Leo) and sister to Ben, the eventual owner of Big Bouquet Florist Shop. She attended Shaker Heights High School, a source of great pride throughout her life and accelerated academically and as a field hockey team member.
Mary Jane attended the University of Michigan and earned a Bachelor’s degree. Following graduation, she returned to the Cleveland area and began teaching English at Mayfield High School where she met her husband of almost 60 years, James (“Jim”) Reed. Following their marriage on April 11, 1964, the couple settled in Cleveland Heights and began raising a son (James, Jr.); and eventually moved to Solon where their daughter (Kristen) was born. While focusing on her children and taking a sabbatical from teaching, Mary Jane earned a Master’s Degree in Education from John Carroll University and traveled extensively throughout Europe during summers abroad, accompanying her husband, a study abroad administrator.
Solon was where Mary Jane raised her two children and, in 1979, returned to the classroom to teach English at the high school. She eventually rose to the leadership role of Chair of the English Department and led that department for many years, working hard to further develop and enhance the Advanced Placement English Program. After her retirement, Mary Jane returned to serve as a college placement consultant, helping hundreds of grateful seniors to perfect their college entrance essays.
Throughout her life, Mary Jane was a proud, second-generation Italian who passed many aspects of her heritage on to her children -teaching them the art of Italian cooking and baking and leaving behind many of her mother’s hand-written recipes. An accomplished pianist – she spent hours playing Mozart, Chopin, Bach and Beethoven on her antique Steinway piano. Mary Jane never stopped writing – from the hundreds of poems that she wrote for friends and family to the travel freelance articles that she wrote during her travels in Europe, published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer – a distinguished career which culminated when she became a published book author in 2004 (“Teaching Powerful Personal Narratives”).
Mary Jane is survived by her loving husband (Jim), her son (Jim, Jr.) and her daughter (Kristen) as well as by her two sons in law (Steve and Gregg). She was predeceased by her mother (Mary), her father (Leo) and her brother (Ben).
Contributions may be made in Mary Jane’s memory to Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org or Living Free Animal Shelter at www.living-free.org.
Family will receive friends to pay tribute to and celebrate the life of Mary Jane WEDNESDAY, December 6, 2023, from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at THE DeJOHN FUNERAL HOME & CELEBRATIONS CENTER OF CHESTERLAND 12811 CHILLICOTHE ROAD (Rt. 306, just south of Mayfield Rd.) Prayers of Christian Burial at 1:30 pm. Burial following at All Souls Cemetery.