Mary Jo Smyth, 92, of Rochester Hills and formerly of Farmington Hills, Wixom and Livonia, passed away peacefully on August 9, 2023, with family members by her side.
Mary Jo was born on December 8, 1930, in Lima, Ohio, the oldest daughter of Robert and Thelma Bruner, who preceded her in death. Also preceding her in death was her husband of 67 years, Bill Smyth, and her sisters, Marge Sprague, and Jan Bruner.
She is survived by her children Tim (Paula), Jan (Rick Burton), and Dan (Cathy); her sister, Joan Bruner; 7 grandchildren, Brian (Emily) Smyth, Kevin (Uyen) Smyth, Brendan (Erin) Roberts, Krystin Roberts, Quinn (Gen) Roberts, Cara (Patrick) Smyth Sliwinski and Erin (Ryan Shearouse) Smyth, 8 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and her beloved cat, Mowgli.
Mary Jo attended Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, where she met her husband, Bill. She later completed her education at Cleveland State University and began her career as an educator. Mary Jo returned to school several times throughout the years, earning 2 master’s degrees from Eastern Michigan University. She touched the lives of hundreds of students in both the South Euclid-Lyndhurst City School District and the Livonia Public School System, where she taught for several decades until her retirement. Her children and grandchildren can attest to her fierce commitment to education and learning, as she had the uncanny ability to make nearly every experience an “educational” one.
Mary Jo had a lifelong love and appreciation of music and was a talented musician in her own right, playing alto saxophone and piano, and gracing multiple choirs and choruses throughout the years with her alto voice.
After retiring, Mary Jo and Bill traveled extensively and volunteered their time to Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels. Mary Jo was an avid reader and was adept at learning new technology, using her Kindle to download and read books, and mastering the art of FaceTime to keep in touch with children and grandchildren.
Mary Jo’s parents instilled in her a deep and abiding faith, and she took an active role in the various churches of which she was a member, most recently at Salem United Church of Christ in Farmington, Michigan.
Visitation will take place on Saturday, August 19, 2023, from 2:00—4:00 PM at Harris Funeral Home, 15451 Farmington Rd., Livonia, MI 48154 with a private service for family members immediately following. Interment will occur at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity or St. Marie’s Hospice.