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Mary Jane Macdonald

Macdonald (Cameron), Mary Jane


Mary Jane, age 83, passed away peacefully on July 6, 2017, in St. Mary’s Memorial Hospital, Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia.  She is lovingly remembered by her daughter Becky, son David (Joanne), grandchildren Amanda and Duncan, brother John (Carolyn), and a wealth of cherished extended family members and special friends.  Mary Jane was predeceased by her husband Vance, her parents Russ and Belle (Irwin) Cameron, brother Irwin, and sister Nancy.


Born in Sherbrooke on September 29, 1933, Mary Jane attended school there until transferring to New Glasgow for her final year, after which she attended Mount Allison University. In the early 1950’s she moved to Halifax and worked for the Province of Nova Scotia before marrying Vance, the love of her life in 1955, and subsequently having two children. While Sherbrooke was never far from heart or mind, the family lived briefly in West Hill, Ontario, and for over 40 years in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Mary Jane had a way with people, so after the young ones were grown, she returned to the workforce. Long term friendships were extremely important and Mary Jane lent her skills to friends as they built their small businesses, and to non-profit and public organizations in service of her community.


Mary Jane was a devoted and loving mother to David and Becky, and she was particularly delighted when she became a grandmother.  Mary Jane adored her children and grandchildren and felt great pride in them and their accomplishments.


Mary Jane said goodbye to her beloved husband, Vance, in 1994, and began the process of building a new life without her partner of over 40 years.  Always independent, Mary Jane decided to move back to Sherbrooke in 1996, and she enjoyed the beautiful home that she re-designed/renovated with Vance just before his death.


Those who knew Mary Jane understood there was not a dog she did not love, or who did not immediately love her. She had her own "dog voice" for all of her canine friends and had great fun putting words in their mouths. "" was a language like no other. Until the end, talk of a dog brought a smile to Mary Jane’s face.


Mary Jane was a lifelong member of the United Church Women and her closeness to the United Church grew ever stronger than ever in her later years. Recently granddaughter Amanda wondered if Mary Jane had been to church lately, the answer was, "not as often as she would have liked." Amanda assured us that shouldn’t count against her as, over her whole life, she had a pretty good report card.


In addition to family, faith, love and laughter, music was a constant thread in the fabric of Mary Jane’s life. Her piano was a fixture in the Macdonald home and her children inherited her passion for music. Over the years, Mary Jane became known to musicians who visited Sherbrooke as a constant, grassroots supporter of the arts.   Mary Jane was deeply touched and honored by Roly Burtons’s original fiddle composition, "Mary Jane’s New Stove," and she was honored again this spring when Natalie McMaster delivered a solo performance of that composition especially for her. It is no surprise, given her lifelong love of music, that Mary Jane chose the hymns for her "celebration of life" service.


Mary Jane had hundreds of sayings that just came out of her. So it seems fitting to close with, "It’s time to climb the wooden hill."  Mary Jane’s was a good life, well lived.  Mum is off to spend time with Dad…you can see them laughing and planning to have some people over.


Funeral will take place on Friday, July 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in St. John’s United Church, Sherbrooke. Rev. Derek Elsworth officiating.


If you wish to donate in memory of Mary Jane, please consider St. John’s United Church, PO Box 32, Sherbrooke NS B0J or any foodbank.


Special thanks to all the health care staff from Sherbrooke, Antigonish and Halifax who made Mary Jane’s final journey an easier one, and enabled us to spend extra time with Mary Jane as she made her way home and to the people of Sherbrooke for their care, kindness and support