Mary Jane Tommins Cramer:
A Child of God
Mary Jane Tommins Cramer, at age 100 and originally from Rockville Centre, NY, passed away on Monday, July 17, 2023 with her daughter Eileen by her side at Brookdale Meridian, Englewood, CO.
At the home of her grandparents in New York City, where her grandfather was a physician, Mary Jane Tommins was born to Arthur V. and Marie T. (Quinlan) Tommins on August 25, 1922, the second of their three children.
Mary Jane spent her youth and half of her adult life in Rockville Centre, enjoying summers at the beach with family and friends. She attended South Side High School where she was both an athlete and a scholar.
Following high school graduation, Mary Jane worked with National City Bank in New York as a secretary, where she was chosen to attend Antioch College in Ohio. It was wartime and her heart brought her home; and it was that war’s end that brought her future husband home to Rockville Center, too.
Eugene Francis Cramer, “Gene” as he liked to be called, had enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at the start of WWII. When his plane was shot down over Germany, he was captured and taken as a P.O.W. Miraculously, he survived and was eventually freed at the end of the war. On October 17, 1946, Mary Jane and Gene married in their parish church of St. Agnes. During their 54-year marriage, they were blessed with six children: Kathleen, Elizabeth, Eugene, Jr., Margaret, Eileen, and Marie.
Mary Jane was unwavering in her faith and devoted to her family. Raising her children, involvement in her children’s school events, and the parish family of St. Agnes all gave her great happiness. The quintessential homemaker, she felt most at home in her kitchen, at her sewing machine, or gearing up for Spring cleaning. Family and friends would gather at her home. A welcomed stranger would leave as a friend. Mary Jane taught by example, and her children learned early that we are all God’s children meant to live by The Golden Rule.
In 1972, Mary Jane & Gene moved to Littleton, CO, with Johns-Manville Corp., where Gene worked for more than 25 years. Five of the six children moved West, with the exception of their married daughter, Kathleen. With steadfast faith and resilience, Mary Jane made Colorado her loving home for more than 50 years.
Settling in Bow Mar Village for the next 17 years, their home was readily distinguished by its hand-crafted and sizeable wooden sign made by their son, young Gene, which read “The Cramers”. Mary Jane loved that sign!
The activities of their youngest children—Marie, in grade school; Eileen in high school— together with St. Mary’s Church, integrated Mary Jane deeply into the Littleton community. Her remarkable strength and courage helped to inspire others as she was to become, after five years, a breast cancer survivor.
Endless hours were spent enjoying the Lake at Bow Mar with the children, Gene, their friends, and their growing families. Mary Jane enjoyed traveling East with Gene after his retirement to visit Kathleen’s growing family on Long Island, and they would often travel together to Captiva Island, FL. Mary Jane & Gene would return to Denver via visits to Ligonier, PA, where Liz and her family lived. Her love for fashion found her enjoying her part-time sales position with the May D & F Company, not far from home.
From Bow Mar in Littleton to Homestead in Centennial, Mary Jane & Gene spent the next 15 years together as their children’s families grew. Sadly, they lost their daughter, Margaret (Cramer) Forbes, to Multiple Sclerosis on March 4, 1991 and their lives were forever changed.
In October 1996, Mary Jane & Gene celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with family and friends. All toasted the happy couple as Mary Jane & Gene danced the “first dance” of their 51st year! Four short years later, Gene died on September 14, 2000 and Mary Jane relied once again on her faith and her family to help her navigate the profound loss of her husband.
Following Gene’s death, and with the encouragement of family, Mary Jane moved to the Riverwalk Community at Lakeshore in Littleton. She bravely began this time in her life with determination and the love and support of her children and their spouses. Sadly, on December 31, 2009, her son-in-law, Andrew “Andy” Aspenwall, passed away, and her life was once more deeply saddened.
Mary Jane changed residences as her health needs changed and lived in a number of communities throughout the Littleton/Centennial/Englewood areas. Each new home was sustained by her family, faith, love, and laughter. Each new parish church brought new friends and the outreach from the faith community. She was crowned “Senior” Prom Queen—sash and all—celebrating Someren Glen’s first-ever Senior Prom Night. There, too, she enjoyed the weekly gatherings to pray the Rosary. It was in her writing class that Mary Jane began her “Reflections and Anecdotes: A Life History.” There her apartment balcony, the nearby aspen trees, and her son’s custom-made garden planter all enriched her days. And when her hibiscus was in bloom, it assured her that it had just the right amounts of water and sunshine.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave everyone reason to fear, yet Mary Jane’s 99th Birthday at Vita Littleton was marked by a dip in its pool! But by far, best of all were her 100th Birthday Celebrations! The Brookdale Meridian celebration on Mary Jane’s birthday brought family, residents, staff, and friends together to celebrate! The family’s celebration continued at Angelo’s Taverna in Littleton in honor of this most extraordinary woman.
A life spanning nearly 101 years is quite remarkable, and Mary Jane’s life was deeply rooted in faith and family. Her capacity to love kept her heart beating day after day. Mary Jane didn’t shy away from speaking her mind when it was important to her, and when she spoke, people listened. She loved to host family gatherings: Christmases, Easters, and St. Patrick’s Days, and attend weddings and birthdays of family and friends. She was patriotic as only “The Greatest Generation” could be, and her sense of humor only improved with age! Music made her toes tap and her Irish eyes smile! And, yes, she did love to dance!
Mary Jane was a great listener, and her door was always open—literally. But even better, so was her heart. When you visited, you’d see the Welcome sign on her door, and be greeted with an offering of quiche or an invitation to stay for dinner. Mary Jane rarely declined an invitation out with family or friends—or a stop at the mall! Her flair for fashion could not be overstated. She loved her sports teams: the Rockies, the Broncos, and the “Avs.” But this year: it was “those Nuggets” winning their first NBA Championship in June that she watched, cheering them to victory!
Above all, Mary Jane loved you, and that love was unconditional. She prayed for you, forgave you, fed you, encouraged you, apologized to you, comforted you, respected you, and accepted you as you were. And always said “Thank you”!
At her life’s end, Mary Jane loved and was loved by the nurses, CNAs, and staff at Brookdale, and with grace and courage met each day. The family wishes to thank all who had a hand in that care. Her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were blessed to have precious time for their final goodbyes, as were Mary Jane’s friends. Her children knew that each of her days began and ended with prayer—maybe that was her secret!
In life, Mary Jane was a devoted daughter, loving wife, dedicated mother, proud mother-in-law, a thoughtful daughter-in-law, as well as an awesome grandmother and the best-ever great grandmother! There was no one more supportive than Mary Jane as a sister, sister-in-law, aunt, and friend.
In her opening words from her “Reflections,” she wrote this:
“Who am I today?” Someone might ask. . . .
I am a Child of God, created in His image, now well on my way to Eternity!
Mary Jane was the last surviving member of her own and her husband’s immediate families. She was predeceased by her sister, Catherine McCahill, and brother, John “Jack” Tommins. She is survived by her five children: Kathleen (Frank) Creamer, Elizabeth (Roy) Morris, Eugene F. Cramer, Jr. (Robin), Eileen (the late Andrew) Aspenwall, and Marie (William) Kelso. She is also survived by her “forever” son-in-law Paul Forbes and cousins Margaret Anne Leede and Marie Douglass. Mary Jane herself said that she was blessed with 12 grandchildren: Gerry (Robyn), Kristin (Matt), Lizzie, John, Tim (Lily), Lee (Alya), Margaret (Mikey), Becky, Emily, Tom, Ryan (Kat), and Katherine (Donavan); three great grandchildren: Dylan, Alan, and Jake; two step-grandchildren: Mark and Katherine; and many loving nieces, nephews, and friends who were all an important part of her life.
The Remembrance and Recitation of the Holy Rosary will take place on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Horan & McConaty Funeral Chapel: 1091 S. Colorado Blvd.
(at Mississippi); Denver, CO 80246. All are welcome.
The Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at
All Souls Catholic Church: 4950 S. Logan St.; Englewood, CO 80113. All are welcome.
A Reception will immediately follow The Mass of Christian Burial in Jaeger Hall at All Souls Catholic Parish. All are welcome.
The Committal will take place on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, at 2:30 p.m. at Fort Logan National Cemetery: 4400 W. Kenyon Ave.; Denver, CO 80236. All are welcome.
If desired, and in lieu of flowers, the family thanks you for your donation in Mary Jane’s memory to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society:
Please click: https://www.horancares.com/obituaries/mary-jane-cramer for more details and directions.