Mary Jean (Connelly) Harrington

Mary Jean (Connelly) Harrington

April 4, 1939 – June 9, 2023

Beloved daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend.  She was preceded in death by parents, Robert and Marie Connelly; brothers Robert J. Connelly, Jr., Terrence M. Connelly, Joseph F. Connelly and Timothy Connelly. She is survived by seven children: Mary Beth Stanek (Jim), Martin Harrington (Michaela), Michael Harrington, Maureen Harrington, Marcy Thompson (Paul, deceased), Mickey Harrington, and Monica Harrington; grandchildren Nick Stanek (Emily), Jenna Hodges (Chris) and Josh Stanek, Nolan and Marin Harrington, Jovonn, Ty, and Stacee Harrington, and Luther and Alice Harrington; loving siblings Sr. Corrine Connelly, R.S.M., Dennis Connelly, Marcy Peterson, Patricia Connelly, Priscilla Quinn, and Anthony and wife Sue Connelly; and 12 nieces and nephews.

Visitation and funeral services will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Saturday, June 17th.  VISITATION: 9am to 11am.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: 11am, followed by luncheon in St. Edward’s Hall at Holy Cross Church.  Interment, Calvary Cemetery.  Memorials are gratefully suggested to Mercy High School and Holy Cross Catholic Church.  To view a live broadcast of the Mass, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.

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Mary Jean was the first daughter born to Robert and Marie Connelly. The role was one of distinction in a family of 11 children growing up on Hickory Street in a home filled with so many personalities. A graduate of both Holy Cross Elementary School (1953) and Mercy High School (1957), she treasured her friendships with classmates for decades to come. Living just four blocks away, both places and communities would have a lasting presence in her life in ways that we are all grateful.  

Faith, family, and friendship were held close to heart and served as pillars of strength and resilience.  She treasured her connection to family and stayed close to her childhood home for nearly all of her life. A 15-minute walk with to visit our grandparents was a common adventure on a Sunday. The Connelly family home on Hickory Street gave her own seven kids the best inheritance – aunts, uncles, and an abundance of cousins nearby. Raising seven kids would be one of her biggest accomplishments thanks to our extended family. As a working mom, she would always tell us to “stick together”. If you had a tough day, she’d tell you to just “have a bowl of cereal” or “take it one day at a time.”  A prayer to St. Anthony in our home was a common request amidst the clutter of the day. In her later years, she enjoyed cheering on her grandkids at their sporting events, going to the masses where they served as altar boys and girls, pulling out a deck of cards at the table (she was competitive!), celebrating Christmas holidays together, and even trying Japanese food recently – with chopsticks — as a way to spend time with her grandchildren. 

Mary Jean walked in faith. She regularly attended daily mass and served as a member and leader of the Altar Society, actively helping to care for the community of parishioners and families at Holy Cross. Daily mass after working at the hospital fed her spirit and may have also provided a 30 minutes respite (aka break) before heading home to make dinner, do laundry, and get ready for the next day. She was a regular every year at the Holy Cross Festival, often working the Cake Walk and was certain that someday she would finally win the big raffle prize.  Her time at Mercy continued as a member of the choir and in her adoration of Mary and the sanctity of life. Her home is a shrine to her faith – filled with prayer books, church calendars, and more. She was a loving and thoughtful Godmother. Proudly, Mary Jean’s faith and service were recognized when she was honored as a Catholic Woman of the Year for Holy Cross Parish. 

Mary Jean enjoyed and truly treasured her many, many friends. Decades of “Card Club” provided laughter and an opportunity to catch up with many of the wonderful women from her days on Robin Hill Drive. We’re still not sure if they ever really played cards. Dancing at the Roam Inn brought new friendships and a chance to put on a dress and heels as she entered “middle age” which became a new chapter in her life. Lunches at Gorat’s, craft club, going to see a show, or visiting Lauritzen Gardens kept her active and connected to the many friendships she valued. 

She was very proud of her decades of work at the Medical Center in the NICU. She even enrolled in a “Mini-Medical School” program so perhaps she is not the only doctor in the family. She had a very strong work ethic and was admired by so many of the doctors and nurses and support staff during her decades at the hospital. Years after she retired, it was common for her to see her former colleagues around town and of course, she’d have to stop and visit. She continued to wear her “scrubs” around the house for years after she retired. 

Mary Jean enjoyed travel, often to see her kids who flew a bit farther from the nest (New York, DC, San Francisco, and Seattle were just a few destinations) and to visit her many cousins in California. Road trips to Kansas City were on the calendar to celebrate birthdays, First Communions, graduations, or to cheer for her Royals. Her biggest adventure was a trip to Italy, although we’re certain she would always consider La Casa’s to be her favorite Italian place. Most of her adventures in these final years of life were much closer to home—from quiet time in her garden and feeding the birds to running to Hy-Vee to play King’s Corners with her sisters, visits with her brothers, or for a quick trip to the post office to send a card or a note to a friend or loved one. 

Mary Jean enjoyed living a good and full life. If she had her lipstick on (and she always did), she was ready to head out the door. If a Neil Diamond song would come on the radio, she was ready to sing (and sway) along. Watching an old movie like “The Odd Couple” would always make her laugh. 

We are blessed by her life. We are all thankful for the time that we had her with us on this Earth and she is forever in our hearts. Thank you for holding our mother in a special place in your hearts, today and always. 

Mary Beth, Martin, Michael, Maureen, Marcy, Mickey, and Monica

Irish Proverb

May you see God’s light on the path ahead when the road you walk is dark. May you always hear, even in your hour of sorrow, the gentle singing of the lark. When times are hard may hardness never turn your hardness to stone. May you always remember when the shadows fall – you do not walk alone.

 

16 Comments

  • Susan Adams Posted June 11, 2023 7:57 am

    Mary was a national treasure in the NICU.! Her smile, kindness, patience, and calm kept everyone grounded, even in the midst of busy chaos. And she knew everything, including how to make things better.  I am grateful that I knew her and shared work life with her.

  • Cindy Carter Posted June 11, 2023 8:51 am

    Mary was always so kind and I enjoyed working with her. I’m so sorry for your loss, and will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers

  • Vickie Posted June 11, 2023 12:42 pm

    Mary was truly an asset and treasure of our NICU. Loved getting to know her over my years there.

  • Mary McCann Posted June 11, 2023 12:59 pm

    I knew Mary Jo while working at Union Pacific in our earlier years I always enjoyed our time together. She was such a faith filled person and have thought about her many times over the years. Heaven gained a wonderful soul. Blessing to all her family

  • Jim Lynch Posted June 11, 2023 4:11 pm

    My condolences to Mary Jean;s family. I was one of her classmates at Holy Cross and have fond ,e,ories of her and those days.

  • Mary Floersch Dolan Posted June 11, 2023 4:13 pm

    It has been a difficult month for me. I have lost two people I love and were a great influence on me. My older sister,Sister Rosemary and Mary Jean .They were both very strong women who were always optimistic and full of Gods love that they shared with everyone.

  • Linda Posted June 12, 2023 3:24 pm

    Sorry for your loss! My prayers are with you & your family!

  • Terri Herman Posted June 13, 2023 4:52 pm

    Sincere condolences to Maureen and your family on the loss of your beloved Mother. Until you meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

  • Janie Kuhlers Posted June 13, 2023 7:54 pm

    I was sorry to read about the loss of your Mom/Grandma. She was a comfort to me after my daughter was born 24 years ago and was in the NICU 24 days. Her NICU greetings were a cheerful delight and our conversations were a ray of sun shine during an otherwise difficult time in my life. You all were blessed to have a wonderful Mom/Grandma!! To you, Mary Beth, and all the rest of the family, I send my love and sympathy to all of you.

    Janie Kuhlers

  • Kathleen Slattery Posted June 14, 2023 7:00 am

    Maureen, our sincere sympathy in the loss of your mother. May her memories be of comfort to you and your family.

  • Wendy Synowicki Posted June 14, 2023 1:07 pm

    What a wonderful mother/grandmother you all carry within your hearts and I’m sure she carries each of you in hers too. May her love and prayers bless, comfort & guide you until you all reunite at Jesus’ feet on a day that never ends~

  • Jean tosoni Posted June 15, 2023 9:40 am

    Our heartfelt condolences to Maureen & all her family in the loss of a very loved person in their lives. She must have been very special to have raised such loving children. Peace & strength to all.

  • Michael McElligott Posted June 17, 2023 5:21 am

    My mom, Jeannie Rashid, grew up and went to Holy Cross and Mercy too. I will always swear that you
    Mercy girls were the best of the best. I miss them both.

  • Tom Connelly Posted June 17, 2023 6:29 pm

    May God eternally bless Aunt Mary Jean, my beloved Godmother. She will never be forgotten… Amen.

  • Barb Baker Posted June 22, 2023 6:29 am

    I knew Mary when she used to ride with my dad every morning to work. with a couple of other employees.
    My dad loved taking her and other employees to work with him and I remember riding along when I worked at Mutual of Omaha, my first job after graduating. As I remember Mary was very quiet and reserved.
    Years later I remember her when I would see her singing in the church choir at funerals and other special events.
    I remember Marcy making faces at her at mass to try and get a reaction out of her, but Mary was great at singing away and ignoring poor Marcy or I should say, POOR Mary. Anyway, Mary was a wonderful lady, and I am sure she will be sorely missed. May she rest in peace and join her brothers who have gone before her into that special place reserved for only the Connelly family.
    Sincerely, Barb Baker

  • The Miljavac Family Posted January 23, 2024 5:35 pm

    Dear Loved Ones of Mary,

    Our family had the pleasure of being Mary’s neighbors for 8 years in Omaha, and then pen pals for the last 5 years since our move. Mary had such a special place in all of our hearts, and we are so very sad to hear the news of her passing, albeit a bit late. We joined Mary for dinner, exchanged Christmas gifts, and May Day baskets, the kids got their first scooter from Mary, and we still have a lovely teddy bear that she gave to my oldest child. Mary was the best neighbor and friend that we could have hoped for, and we always looked forward to our chats with her, and later the cards in the mail. What a blessing to our family. Thank you for sharing her with us. We send you all our love during this time.

    Steven & Rebecca Miljavac, and Family

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