Marblehead, MA — Mary Jane Smith, wife of the late Henry W. Smith, died Feb 20, 2013, in Marblehead, MA, at the age of 82.
Born to Dean and Esther Heizer of Springfield, Ohio, on August 9, 1930, she was the fourth of an eventual seven children. In early years her family moved frequently; by age sixteen she had resided in seven states. She graduated from Lynn English High School while living in Nahant, MA.
Mary Jane had begun studies for a degree in music education at Tufts University when she met Henry W. Smith of Lynn, a fellow member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church choir. Before her family decamped for Arizona in 1950, she and Henry married. The young couple ballroom danced, cycled the Cape & Islands, camped and hiked the White mountains of NH. She bore three children between 1952 and 1958, moving her family to Manchester, MA, in 1953 and to Essex, MA, in 1963. She and Henry would live in Essex for the next thirty-five years.
On vacation from homemaking (and working on an old house) in the sixties, Mary Jane traveled the US and Canada with her family; camping, canoeing, hiking and visiting siblings.
In 1970 she returned to school, graduating from Salem State College in 1973. She worked in teaching, real estate and other businesses on the North Shore before landing at Fiduciary Trust Corp in Boston. In 1981 she became a Trust Officer, retiring in 1995.
A talented mezzo-soprano, pianist and seamstress, Mary Jane pursued her dual passions of music performance and textile crafts throughout her life. At home she gave her children their first music and sewing lessons. Over the years she produced a raft of finely made quilts, clothing, embroidery and braided rugs, most freely distributed to family and friends.
In the public sphere, she was the alto soloist at First Parish Church of Beverly from 1960-1967 and the organist and choir director at the First Congregational Church of Essex from 1967-1973. She performed as a vocal soloist with the Salem Philharmonic Series at Glen Magna, Thursday-Noon Concert Series at MIT, Cecilia Society of Boston and various choral groups north and west of Boston. She sang the part of Dido in a 1974 production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at SSC. She also sang several leading roles in Ipswich Summer Theater productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operas in the early seventies. She continued performing through 2005.