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Mary Jane Schiro Butera passed away on September 9, 2022, at the age of 90 after a valiant, long-fought battle with congestive heart failure. Born in New Orleans on November 3, 1931, she was educated at Holy Rosary Grammar School and Sacred Heart of Jesus High School, where she was captain of the marching band. She then received a scholarship to Loyola University, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in music and won the talent competition her senior year. Fifty years later she enthusiastically went back to college and attained a Master’s Degree in Music Composition from The University of New Orleans at the age of 78.
Mary Jane’s education was not confined to the classroom. She was constantly learning new skills and developing previously untapped talents even into her nineties. In addition to being a talented musician, Mary Jane was an accomplished artist, professional photographer, woodworker, ice skater, and even New Orleans’ city champion for golf in her age group.
Professionally, Mary Jane touched countless lives for over six decades as an educator. Whether giving private piano lessons, leading a choir, or teaching a classroom full of children, she not only instructed her students but, more importantly, she inspired them – especially by her enthusiastic example.
It was while teaching fourth grade at Sacred Heart of Jesus School that Mary Jane met Clendon J. Butera, who was teaching and coaching in the high school. They were married in 1955, had five children, and were co-founders of Lake Castle Private School in 1963. Mary Jane and Clendon were best friends, amazing dance partners, golf buddies, and co-workers until his unexpected death in 1993.
Although Mary Jane had numerous noteworthy accomplishments, it was as a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, and loyal friend that she most inspiring to all who knew her. She was never outdone in generosity, and her Catholic Faith was of utmost importance to her. She was Catholic Teen of the Month in high school, and was a recipient of The Order of St. Louis Award for spreading the Gospel in the Archdiocese of New Orleans half a century later. Mary Jane did not merely pray The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. She lived it. Whether anonymously providing scholarship money for needy students, bringing meals to the elderly homebound, teaching immigrants the English language, or literally giving her coat to a stranger on the street, Mary Jane was a channel of peace to those blessed to encounter her on any given day. Where there was doubt, she brought faith, and where there was sadness, she brought joy.
Mary Jane was preceded in death by her parents, Elizabeth Grossimon Schiro and Roman Michael Schiro; her husband, Clendon Joseph Butera; and her beloved daughter, Lydia Ann Butera. She is survived by her children Barry M. Butera (Rhonda); Brian J. Butera (Cindy); Elizabeth B. Fitzpatrick (Dan); Jane B. McGovern (Danny); her grandchildren Brittany B. Donahue; Barry M. Butera; Blake M. Butera; Bryce M. Butera; Benjamin J. Butera; Robert C. Butera; Brandon J. Butera; Daniel S. Fitzpatrick; Kevin M. Fitzpatrick; Maggie E. McGovern; Madelyn J. McGovern; Michael P. McGovern; and 13 great-grandchildren (with two more on the way!); her devoted sisters, Elizabeth S. Parent and Kathleen S. Duvic; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends of all ages.
Mary Jane’s family would like to express their gratitude to the dedicated team at Summerhouse Vista Shores Assisted Living for the loving care she received from them, as well as to her many devoted friends there who brought her so much joy each day. She loved being part of the Vista Shores community. Whether participating in exercise class, going on a scenic drive, or having a Movie Night, Mary Jane knew she was surrounded by people who truly cared about her.
Visitation will be at Jacob Schoen and Son Funeral Home, 3827 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119, on Saturday, September 17, 2022, from 9:00AM – 1:00PM. A Funeral Mass will be held at Jesuit High School’s Chapel of the North American Martyrs, 310 S. Solomon St., New Orleans, LA at 2:00 PM. Interment will follow at Greenwood Cemetery, 5190 Canal Blvd, New Orleans, LA. To view and sign the virtual register book, please visit www.schoenfh.com.