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Mary Jo 'MJ' Grant



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Mary Jo ‘MJ’ Grant

Former Sandy Hook resident Mary Jo “MJ” Grant, 54, lost her long but courageous battle with breast cancer on February 1 at Maine General Hospital in Waterville, Maine. Her determination, sparkling personality, positive outlook, and generosity of spirit were a true inspiration to all of those whose lives she touched.

She was born in Old Town, Maine, on December 7, 1949, to Joe and Betty (Morrison) Clark. She was a graduate of Old Town High School, Class of 1968 and attended the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

On February 7, 1970, she married Michael Grant in Old Town. This was only one more step in their relationship, which began as friends at the age of 12 and grew and matured for the many years following. They lived in Waterville from 1973 to 1977, where she was a social worker in the KVCAP program. In 1978 they moved to Dyer, Ind., where she worked as a preschool teacher’s aide.

In 1984, Mary Jo, Mike, and their daughters relocated to Sandy Hook and lived there for 11 years. During this time MJ continued her lifelong love affair with children, working as a teacher’s aide at the Middle Gate Elementary School in Newtown.

MJ and Mike settled back into their “home state” of Maine in 1995, living in Oakland. Having made friends in all their various stopping points, Mary Jo nurtured those relationships with a steady stream of thoughtful cards, well-timed phone calls, and return visits. She strongly believed that “to make true friends, you have to be one.”

Mrs Grant was active in various clubs and charitable organizations, including the Waterville Area Newcomers Club, the Maine Children’s Home, Hospice Volunteers of Waterville, the Maine General Hospital Auxiliary, the Waterville Area Literacy Volunteers, the Sacred Heart Church Soup Kitchen, and the Steering Committee for the rebuilding of the Oakland Public Library. She attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Waterville. She was involved with several breast cancer support groups and fundraising activities, providing a role model and guiding hand for many other women and their families. In turn, she was particularly grateful for the kind support and deep compassion of the Medical Oncology Department, the Third Floor North staff, and many others at Maine General Hospital in Waterville.

She was particularly fond of her “Ya-Yas,” a group of lifelong girlfriends whose mutual love and support helped to sustain her through the numerous ups and downs of her recent years.

Mrs Grant was predeceased by her father and mother, Joe and Betty Clark of Milford, Maine; her father-in-law Larry Grant of Old Town; and brother-in-law Tim Grant of Boston, Mass.

She is survived by her husband Michael of Oakland; their daughters Jill O’Neil and husband Tom of North Branford, and Jaime Grant and companion Cody Yergert of Waterville; four beloved grandchildren, Finnegan Grant, Thomas O’Neil, Timothy Grant, and Kylie O’Neil; her sister, Missy Harris and husband Deane of Old Town; her mother-in-law, Juliette Grant of Old Town; and many nieces, nephews, and in-laws.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated February 5 at Holy Family Church, Old Town, Maine, with the Rev Rudolph Leveille, celebrant.

Spring interment will be at the Milford Cemetery, Milford, Maine. Memorial contributions may be made to The Main Children’s Home, Silver Street, Waterville ME 04901, or the Bancroft NeuroHealth Preschool, Silver Street, Waterville ME 04901.

The Newtown Bee        February 6, 2004

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