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Mary Jo Brumley Mathews
July 27, 1930 - January 3, 2019
Mary Jo Mathews.jpg

  Mary Jo was born in Carnegie, Oklahoma and raised in Lathrop and Manteca.  She passed away in the early morning hours of January 3, 2019.   Her decline and death occurred on the heels of losing our brother Kim in August. The day before her passing was a reunion of friends and family who came by to say their goodbyes with worshipful music, thoughts and prayers. Stories, laughter and tears assured mom she was loved.  The staff at Bethany Home brought cookies and coffee throughout the day.   She was blessed to have lived her life nestled in the support of many dear friends and family.

   It was dad’s(Bruce) sister Ruth who introduced  mom to dad, and  that was the start of a very sweet love story. Mom attended Manteca high school when they met, and he was a bit older.  The teachers and staff called them the “bachelor and the bobby-soxer,” as he would sometimes pick her up in his convertible. 

  The Brumleys were a tight knit group and didn’t stray too far from Lathrop.  Her father Clyde died in 1963 and mother RosieMay in 1995.  Mom had many siblings …two brothers, Woodrow and Jack, and seven sisters. Pauline, Juanita, Carm, Esther, Evelyn, Joyce Dean and Ruby Jane.  They  remained close and supported one another through births, deaths, and family reunions.   With such a large family came all the kids!  We’ve heard stories of how mom and dad took many of the nieces and nephews camping and fishing, and vacations to Yosemite and Tahoe.

Dad and mom taught us about Jesus at an early age and how important a relationship with him was. I was ten, Kim nine, and Stan seven, when dad passed away April 15, 1962, from heart disease. Mom was left with the daunting task of raising three children alone. But she was never alone. She always told us, on her knees in prayer, it was Christ Jesus who brought her through that dark time, and the love of her sisters, mom, the Mathews, friends and church family.  She was supported in her quest and graduated in the first RN nursing class offered at Modesto junior college in 1965. She had a heart for people, and for the next 40 years, prayed and counseled friends and family, (any time day or night) and worked for Manteca Medical Group with Dr. Brown and Wolf.  I remember as a child mom handing me a sandwich to give to a man rummaging thought the garbage cans looking for something to eat.  She gave away some of my dresses to a little girl down the  street(and at the time when they still fit me!). She was mom to the neighborhood kids.  Many, many stories we could tell about mom’s generosity. 

   We grew up, flew the nest, did the college and marriage thing; Debbie married Jerry Moore, Kim married Marie Indelicato, and Stan married Denise Liberato. With more time on her hands, mom began to paint. She had the talent, and I remember seeing it for the first time a Christmas long ago, she painted a Christmas scene of ice skaters on a snow-covered pond on our front window. Dad did his part by hooking up an extension cord to a coffee can and light bulb to illuminate the skaters. She and friends drove to the country to an old barn/shed with perfect lighting, large windows, pot bellied stove coffee and pastries. There,  with a view of  riparian woods along the levee, they took many painting classes from John Frey. She was quite prolific and for the next several years, painted many different scenes and styles.  Talk to anyone who knew her well, and they probably have a painting or two hanging their home.  She loved her grandchildren, Cheryl, Brock, Stan Jr., Peter, Sarah, Stephen and Jeanette.  Then later her precious great-grands were born:  Isabella, Michael, Emily, Anneke, Ellie, Parker, Elin, Benjamin, Everly, Roan, and Isla.  Ask anyone of them, and they will tell you stories of going to Yosemite with grandma Jo.  She took pictures of the falls, the mountains and meadows with the kids in the middle of the picture, came home and then paint the scene.  She was a reader, traveled on Senior trips, took creative writing classes from Bob Camden, and loved to stump Cheryl and me in Scrabble. She loved having her kids, grandkids and great grandkids squeeze into her little house, with roast beef, and all the fixing’s, smell of coffee and pie coming from the open front door. We were ALWAYS welcomed. She really did have a wonderful life.   There will be no public service at this time, but there will be a celebration of life for the family arranged at a future date.

Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin

Friday, January 18, 2019