Mary Jean Monahan, 89, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, passed peacefully with her family by her side on September 20, 2021. She was born on May 14, 1932, to Martin J. Madden and Catherine Reilly Madden in Ashland, Pennsylvania. Mary Jean made the bold move to leave her hometown and attend Franklin Institute of Science in Philadelphia where she became a phlebotomist. She thoroughly enjoyed her career and the many places she worked over the years.
Mary Jean loved her family and friends deeply, but the love of her life was, from the day she met him until the day she passed, Bobby Monahan. They laughed together, danced together, traveled the world, held hands, and always kissed good morning, goodnight, and goodbye. It was an everlasting love that got cut way too short. She and Bobby became involved with Marriage Encounter and went on to be a presenting couple as well as leaders in TEC, Teens Encounter Christ, while living in Erie and then State College. Once she learned to knit and crochet, she gifted many friends and family with blankets and scarves as well as making and donating hats for newborns at local hospitals.
While attending St. Margaret Mary’s in Penbrook, she became a Eucharist Minister, one of the greatest honors of her life. She regularly visited nursing homes, hospitals, and private residences to deliver communion to the sick and those in need. She also was a weekly Adorer at Sacred Heart Chapel.
Joy, to our mother, was visiting Stone Harbor, sitting on the beach with a good book, especially, after most of the beach cleared and it was peaceful with nothing but the waves and seagulls serenading her. We all recall long walks with her and collecting shells. She and Aunt Joan attended exercise classes at the Friendship Center and eventually mom was leading some of the classes. She recruited lots of friends to join her. Jeannie was a loyal friend and was there for her friends whether they needed a ride to a doctor’s appointment or anything else. In the “old days” her girlfriends would come to our kitchen, and she would give them a Toni home perm. There would be lots of storytelling and laughter.
Her life had many ups and downs and she just kept going on. When someone would complain about another birthday she would always say, “It beats the alternative.”
Her children and grandchildren are most grateful that after many years of being feisty and active that she was set free from the dementia that limited her life. For all who came to support us in her final days, thank you. To her beloved son, Rob, who cared for her the last seven years of her life, there are not enough words of gratitude and appreciation for all you did. You get the Gold Medal of Love.
Mary Jean is preceded in death by her husband Robert M. Monahan Sr., her parents, son Brian P. Monahan, brothers Capt. Thomas Madden, William Madden, Martin Madden Jr., sister Anne Marie Walker, and grandchildren Sean Monahan Tenedios, Sgt. Timothy Monahan. She is survived by her daughters Grace (Michele Monahan) Moore (Jerry), honorary daughters Lisa Dumbeck and Jean Marie Terwilliger, sons Robert M. Monahan Jr., Patrick Monahan (Jennifer), and Thomas Monahan (Teresa), sister Kathleen Madden Kilker (Cletus), sisters-in-law Joan Madden, Alice Madden, Gail Marquardt, brother-in-law Stanley Monahan (Carmel), grandchildren Catherine (Nathan), Colleen (Lavie), Breanne, Kristin (Billy), Alan, Jamison (Ellen), Kellan, Justin, Jordan, Jacob, and Jenna, great grandchildren Brian, Nola, Robert, Riley, Wren, Maeve, Samuel, Eliana, Riley, and Bailey, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer Association would be a blessing.
There will be a Mass at St. Margaret Mary’s at 12p.m. on October 16, 2021.
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