MARY JANE BOELHOUWER 1931-2018
Mary Jane Boelhouwer was born in Hamilton in 1931, and grew up on West Ave North. After attending ‘Normal” school, Mary Jane taught for one year at Mount Hope School, a two room schoolhouse, before securing a job on the original staff at Glenview Public School in Burlington. It was around that time that Mary Jane met her future husband Cornelis (Kees) Boelhouwer at a social mixer. Mary Jane and Kees built a house in Aldershot in 1957, and that has remained her home to this day. Mary Jane was very active in her community and was somewhat of a pioneer, in many respects. She and Kees adopted three children, Leah (Ricardo), Jeff (Joanne) and finally Jason (Karen). At that time she stepped back to be a supply teacher in order to be home to raise the family. She soon took a job writing a weekly Aldershot Neighbourhood News piece in the Burlington Gazette, and held it for 22 years, never once missing a column. She loved to write, and maintained relationships with several “pen-pals” throughout the world for most of her life. She lived a wonderful life in Aldershot and made many deep and true friendships throughout the community that have lasted to this day. Mary Jane was active in many advocacy and community roles, including Concerned CItizens of Ward One, a group who fought to close the dump on the North Service Road. She was also instrumental in getting the swimming pool built at Aldershot School instead of on Maple Avenue, where many on the town council wanted it to go. Mary Jane was an active fund-raiser and with a small group of Aldershot residents, started a recycling movement that took off and is credited with getting the “Blue Box” program up and running. She was often heard to say that “it only takes one person to make a change.” That group has rekindled in recent years as “Recycling Revisited” and met weekly at Mary Jane’s house, to plan and scheme about how to continue to promote recycling and also to raise awareness about the history of their group, a powerful and innovative pioneer of recycling in Canada. Mary Jane was the first ever card holder at the Burlington Public Library’s Aldershot branch, when it opened on Sept. 29, 1960, in the basement of the local Dominion grocery store. She has loved books throughout her life, and was especially grateful for her “Daisy” reader in her later years, when her eyesight let her down. Mary Jane was a forward thinking woman with a strong will, and impacted our community in many positive ways. She taught her family to live by the “golden rule”, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. True to form, Mary Jane called the shots in the last days of her life, and after exercising her right to vote, via on-line option, passed away peacefully on her terms at 6:14 pm at Joseph Brant Hospital on October 1, 2018. Mary Jane will be dearly missed by her many friends, neighbours and acquaintances. Her 7 grandchildren, and one great grandson, Noah, will do their best to carry on Oma’s legacy, and will strive to “do good” in their communities. Many thanks to all her great friends, and to the kind staff at Jo Brant who made her last days comfortable and memorable In lieu of flowers, donations to CNIB Talking Books or Burlington Public Library Talking Books would be much appreciated.