Obituary of Mary Jo Tate
MARY "JO" TATE (nee Tursi), age 93, of Stratford, NJ, passed away in Coral Springs, FL, surrounded by her loving family on Friday, June 11, 2021. She was a loving and devoted wife to the late James F. Tate Jr. and beloved matriarch of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She made a lasting impression on all who knew her and will be sorely missed.
Mary Jo was born in Philadelphia, PA on May 14, 1928, to the late Peter Tursi and Rose Tursi (nee Giordano). She had 2 sisters, Ginger Johnson and the late Marie Robinson. Her family embodied true American values with the entrepreneurial spirit. They believed that with hard work and determination you can achieve your life's dreams.
Mary Jo attended Shippensburg College where she majored in Literature and Education. Prior to her marriage, she was a featured television ballroom dancer for the Arthur Murray Studios. Dance was a lifelong passion of hers. She continued to dance at the Stratford Dance Center and enjoyed ballroom dancing well into her 80's. Her love of dance was imparted to her daughters. Her children were always impressed with her athletic skills. As a young woman, Mary Jo was one of the first female lifeguards to work at the South Jersey shore in Wildwood, NJ. It was an impressive feat. She moved to Stratford in 1965 with her husband, the late James F. Tate, Jr., and there they raised their 6 children. Known to some as Mary and Jo or Mary Jo to others, she was a true dominant force in her home and community. She was a loving wife and caring mother of 6 who ran a strict household and still managed to work on her many interests and support the many causes that were dear to her heart.
As a young woman, she always had a keen interest in politics. She spent 18 years serving on the Stratford Borough Council. She accomplished many things for her town. Recognizing the social effects of parks and playgrounds for her community, she secured the necessary Green Acres funding to have them built. She was an advocate for her church having been a member of St Luke's Catholic Church (Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish) since moving to Stratford. She spent many years spearheading special events to raise money for the church. And as if that wasn't enough to occupy her time, she was active on the Board of the Stratford Swim Club and a local Avon representative. Since her children spent their summers at the swim club, she wanted to ensure that the club was a wholesome and well-run environment for her family and her town. She imparted her love of politics, dance, athletics, and volunteerism to her children who followed in her footsteps. In all that she did, she set an example of fearlessness and hard work. She was unwavering in her convictions.
Mary Jo was a diminutive woman with a strength of mind and purpose that belied her stature. All who knew her recognized her determination and commitment to those she loved; her family, friends, church, and hometown. She was a force to be reckoned with. She will be missed but she is at home with her God and those she loved who preceded her.
Mary Jo was the beloved mother of Kathleen "Holly" Tate, Mary Frances Thompson (John), Lizbeth Tate Brown (Kurt), James Francis Tate III, Leslie Tate Johnson (Jeff), and Marian Tate Klinger (Ben). Grandmother of Sheri Tate, Jared Doebritsch (Lori), Jami Lewchik (Brent), Patrick McKenna (Nicole), Kyle Johnson (Elizabeth Yannes), Zach Johnson, John Klinger, Tate Klinger, and the late Adam Doebritsch. Great-grandmother of Brianna Rose, Chase, Jack, Dace, Caesar, Leonardo, Eleanor, and Hazel. Sister of Rose Theresa "Ginger" Johnson (Bob) and the late Marie "Sarah" Robinson (late Al).
Relatives and friends are invited to attend her viewing and visitation on Friday evening, June 18th 6-8 pm and Saturday morning, June 19th 9-10 am at Eugene J. Zale Funeral Home, 712 N. White Horse Pike, Stratford, NJ 08084. Funeral Mass on Saturday 10:30 am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish – St. Luke Church, 55 Warwick Rd, Stratford. Burial following in St. Mary's Cemetery, Williamstown.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Ronald McDonald House – Southern New Jersey at www.rmhsnj.org
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