Obituary: Mary Jane Corley Rozendaal, 1937-, 2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Mary Jane Corley Rozendaal, 1937-, 2023 

Devoted mother was relentlessly generous

Published January 13, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated January 13, 2023 at 11:53 a.m.

click to enlarge Mary Jane Rozendaal - COURTESY
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  • Mary Jane Rozendaal
On a cold winter day in January 1937, an angel arrived on Earth. Mary Jane was a gift to all who knew her, and her life was a lesson to us all on how we should aim to live. Every day of her life, MJ woke thinking of others, what she could do for them and how she could make someone else’s day better.

Mary Jane was born in Manchester, N.H., to Eleanora and Edward Corley; however, South Burlington, Vt., was her true home. The Corleys bought a house on 80 Kirby Road, and that soon became the family home. Not long after Mary Jane’s arrival, came her brother, Dick, sister Anne and sister Barb. Baby Michelle and Michael arrived a few years later.

Sadly, when MJ was only 20, her mother passed away, and she was left in charge of the family. Mary Jane loved her family and never minded a bit that her role would be to care for her father and help raise her siblings.

Mary Jane went to Cathedral High School and then attended Champlain College’s medical secretarial program. After graduating, she accepted a position with dermatologist Dr. Daly as medical administrator, a job which she loved for many years.

Throughout this time, Mary Jane was a friend, sister, godmother and aunt to many. She made friends everywhere she went and constantly offered to watch children, help with a project or run an errand. She lived to be helpful, and it brought her so much joy and satisfaction when she was able to be.

Dr. Daly retired, and MJ found a new role working for her brother Dick and his partner, Jan Rozendaal, who were running a restaurant and needed a good administrator. Mary Jane happily joined the team. Only a year or so after being in that position, Jan’s wife perished in a fire, which broke Mary Jane’s heart. Her compassion and sympathy eventually caught his eye — then his heart — and the two fell in love and were married at their home at the Mallett’s Bay Club on July 1, 1972. The two, together with Jan’s young son Eric, became a family. Within a few years, Steven and Kara were added and the family was complete.

Jan and Mary Jane decided to move into town and bought the house on Spear Street, which became Mary Jane’s home for the rest of her life. She loved that house and entertained tirelessly — Cornish game hens with ribbons, a good pot roast or her famous ribs were common fare. Mary Jane was a devoted mother to her three children and never missed an assembly, sporting event or concert. She loved entertaining the children's friends, and the Rozendaal house was always a welcome hub for anyone who wanted to stop by. When you did visit, you were sure to be greeted by MJ, her hair fluffed and soft silver rose lipstick shimmering on her beautiful smile. You’d be offered a drink and food before you could even say hello.

Mary Jane’s greatest role, however, was that of wife. She was a devoted wife to Jan, whom she adored so very much. They spent 50 wonderful years together, and for each day she was able to be, she centered her day around Jan’s needs and happiness. This brought her true joy as she loved him so dearly. The couple would travel together to such places as Hawaii, Alaska, Utah, Florida, Switzerland and Norway.

Summers were spent at the camp on Mallet’s Bay and winters in Stowe, or later, Lowell. Jan enjoyed things like skiing, sailing and snowmobiling, so Mary Jane, ever the good sport, pretended to as well.

In her downtime, MJ wrote notes to all of you reading this. She acknowledged achievements big and small and made everyone feel important and noticed. She actively paid attention to other people and let them know it. She was relentlessly generous, sending boxes of books to children, each with loving words etched in her perfect cursive on the inside cover. Treasures.

Mary Jane was a woman of great faith, and St. John Vianney parish was an integral part of her life. She bonded with many through her faith and love for her Lord. Mary Jane also loved caring for others and volunteered weekly for over 20 years in the oncology department at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She also volunteered and gave blood religiously at the American Red Cross.

Mary Jane is survived by her beloved husband, Jan, and their dog, Chip; her son Steven and his wife, Elise; daughter, Kara, and daughter-in-law, Keenann; and grandchildren Louissa and Hans (Eric), JP and Noa (Steven), and Katherine, Lily, and Wyatt (Kara). She is predeceased by her son Eric, whom we miss so very much.

Mary Jane’s family was extensive, but each member was a treasure to her: brothers Dick (Cheryl) and Mike (Kim); sister Barb (Butch); as well as her late sister, Anne; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews  — all of whom heard from Aunt MJ on every occasion.

Mary Jane was a mother to far more children than just her own, most notably Mary Jo, Michelle, Camie, Shelby, Carolina, and Nora. She had seven godchildren that she also thought of as her charges.

Mary Jane will be welcomed into heaven by her parents and sister Michelle, as well as sister Anne and son Eric.

Mary Jane taught all who knew her how to care for others and to put others first. She made the world better, and she challenges each of us to do so as well. Truly, the world needs more Mary Janes.

Visiting hours will be held at Corbin and Palmer Funeral Home in Essex from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, January 19, 2023, and a Catholic mass will be held at St. John Vianney at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2023. Arrangements are made by Corbin and Palmer.
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