Mary Jane McGee


Dec. 11, 1921 — March 23, 2017

Mary J. McGee, 95, transitioned on March 23 at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center, Pagosa Springs. Born in Walden, Colo., as Mary Jane Shumake, Jerry (as everyone knows her), is survived by three children, 10 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. Her surviving children are Donna Twiggs, James Moyer and David McGee. Jerry married Charles William McGee on March 1, 1953, in Yerington, Nev.

During World War II, Jerry supported the war effort by “bucking rivets” in the wing tips of the A-26 Invader (because she was tiny enough to fit in the small spaces). Hence, she never heard the bombs or the gun fire. Instead, she heard the constant hammering of the riveting guns in close quarters without hearing protection. Jerry paid the price for her service in later life by loosing most of her ability to hear family and friends.

In later life, Jerry lived in Weed Heights, Nev., raising her two youngest sons, Charles Barton and David Michael McGee. Her passions at this point in time were being a member of The Civil Air Patrol Search and Rescue, amateur geology (known as rockhounding in the United States and Canada), exploring ghost towns, gathering pinon pine nuts and wild asparagus, hiking, bowling, bicycling and camping with her family.

After Weed Heights, Jerry moved to Reno, Nev., with her husband and two youngest children. Again, doing the previously mentioned activities and adding playing the organ, raising honey bees and exploring new country.

From Reno, she set her sights on the San Francisco Bay Area and then on to Bakersfield, Calif.

Leaving both her now grown sons behind, Jerry and husband Charles ordered a specially built 36-foot Arden fifth-wheel camp trailer and headed “North to Alaska,” where they participated in the construction of the Trans Alaskan Pipeline. Living in the “Fiver” (as they called it) full time, Fairbanks, Alaska, was quite the change from Bakersfield.

Again on the move, the couple traveled through Canada and the Western U.S. and finally settled in Tucson, Ariz., for 25 years. They spent almost all of those years as the live-in caretakers of Unity Church of Tucson.

Jerry survived her husband on Aug. 16, 2010, left Unity of Tucson and moved to Pagosa Springs. Now “full circle,” she spent the remainder of her years in her home state inspiring those who had come to know her. Her ability to go out walking on her own and hiking and traveling “at 95” with the family that adopted her, were truly an inspiration to all. Jerry McGee is now where she wants to be and will be truly missed here on earth. Love to all.