Mary Jo McNamara
July 16, 2021
Mary Jo (Vloet) McNamara, age 76. Born in Detroit, MI; died in Omaha, NE on July 16, 2021. Preceded in death by parents, Martin and Irene Vloet; brother, John Vloet; and sister, Carol Linda Vloet. Survived by husband, Jim McNamara; sister, Rita Vloet; children: Carol (Luigi) Manzetti, David (Leah) McNamara, and Mark (Julie) McNamara; grandchildren: Austin McNamara, Victoria McNamara, Brady McNamara, Casslyn McNamara, Jillian McNamara, and Andrew McNamara.
VISITATION: Monday, July 19th from 4pm to 7pm at St. Gerald Catholic Church, 9602 “Q” St., followed by ROSARY and VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Tuesday, July 20th at 10am at St. Gerald Catholic Church. Interment: Thursday, July 22nd at 11am at Omaha National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to the Fr. Foster Memorial Endowment at St. Gerald Church, or to Gross Catholic High School.
To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
She was born Mary Jo Vloet in Detroit, Michigan on November 13, to Martin and Irene Vloet. Mary Jo had three younger siblings: a brother, John and two sisters, Rita and Carol Linda. She grew up in Detroit and attended Regina High School. Reading was her favorite pastime back as far as she could remember. After high school she attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti where she met the love of her life, James “Jim” Edward McNamara at the Newman Club. Mary Jo and Jim dated throughout college and were married on February 24, 1967.
Jim was ROTC, called to active duty in the US Army right after their wedding – Mary Jo was sure along for a crazy ride. He was first stationed in Maryland and then sent to England where their daughter Carol was born in December 1967. After a year abroad, Jim was deployed to Vietnam and Mary Jo went back home to Detroit, MI. While Jim was in Vietnam, Mary Jo gave birth to their second child, David, in March 1969. She proudly gave Jim the gift of seeing his son walk for the first time, even though he had been trying to walk for weeks. Jim finished his career with the Army in Fort Riley, Kansas where their youngest son, Mark, was born in May of 1972.
Mary Jo adored being a mother. She stayed at home with all of them until her youngest son, Mark, was in school. By that point, Jim’s job had taken them to Omaha, Nebraska and Mary Jo started substitute teaching, which she had not done since Jim was in Vietnam. She began her teaching career at Benson West Elementary in 4th grade and it became her signature speciality. Mary Jo also taught at Rose Hill Elementary and ended her wonderful 26-year teaching career at Field Club Elementary, of course teaching 4th grade.
As much as Mary Jo loved being a mother, being a grandmother was a whole new joy. She adored her six grandchildren: Austin, Victoria, Brady, Casslyn, Jillian, and Andrew, and never missed an opportunity to continue her lifelong teaching mission with them. Mary Jo taught her grandchildren all sorts of wonderful things from how to bake sugar cookies at Christmas time to sewing and mending clothes to how to play Mexican Train Dominoes.
She kept very busy in her post retirement life. When not spending time with family, Mary Jo was a spirited member of numerous bridge groups, helped make food for funerals, grew tomatoes in the backyard, and enjoyed the company of so many dear friends. She and Jim also loved to vacation; cruising being their favorite by far. Mary Jo loved all the memories from their anniversary cruise with the entire McNamara family as well as those to Alaska, the Mediterranean, and of course the well-publicized COVID quarantine cruise that was supposed to be a relaxing trip to Hawaii.
Most of all, no matter what happened in life or where it took her, Mary Jo was happiest being beside her best friend of 54 years, her husband Jim. Whether they were having a fancy dinner at Brother Sebastian’s or sitting beside each other in the living room, she was completely content to just spend time with her life-long love. She leaves a legacy of organization, love, and generosity.