Mary Jane Van Hook

December 20, 1941December 4, 2018

Mary Jane Van Hook was born December 20, 1941 in Bloomington, Indiana to Margaret and Richard Gilpatrick. She attended Bloomington High School and Indiana University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in English Education. Mary Jane joined the staff of St. Mark’s Nursery School, and discovered her passion for working with young children, in 1971. After a few short years, she became Director. One of the greatest achievements during her tenure was for St. Mark’s Nursery School to receive accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. However, she would say her greatest achievement was getting to watch some many children grow and discover the world. Her passion for child-centered programming for the whole community led to the creation of many events such as Getting Ready for Christmas, Young at Art, BubbleFest, and Science Alive. Soon she began collaborating with others on the creation of an early childhood area for WonderLab. Mary Jane also shared her passion for early childhood education through the many lab schools she facilitated, parent outreach programs, and a stint of teaching early childhood students at Indiana University. In her retirement, Mary Jane became a prolific writer. Many of her writings were fueled by a desire to share her early life with family, but she also wrote about any other topic that made her happy. Her worldly travels with her husband and the Monroe Bank PrimeTime program provided additional experiences to write about. Mary Jane is preceded in death by her husband of nearly 57 years, Ron Van Hook and her parents. She is survived by her children, Gregory Scott Van Hook (Kim), Karen Elizabeth McCain (Fred), granddaughters Elyse Lynn Van Hook , Brittany Rae Van Hook, grandson Grayson Patrick McCain, “grandson-in-love” Adam Smith, and loved nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1:30 PM, Monday, December 10, 2018 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. Following the service, there will be a gathering of family and friends at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mark’s Nursery School and Kindergarten or to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be made to the family at


  • Celebration of Life Monday, December 10, 2018

Mary Jane Van Hook

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Cindy Wilmers

January 29, 2019

Greg, Karen and Family,
I am so sorry to see the passing of your Mother. I am a distant cousin of your Dad, Ron, and had been searching for his obit when I came upon this one. I have been doing genealogy research on the Sexton family in Bloomington and visited your Mom and Dad in August of 2017. My Father, Arthur Ross Sexton, lived with your Grandparents Clyde and Ester when he was going through high school and college.
Please accept my condolences for the passing of both your Mother and Father so close together.
Cindy Wilmers

Rebecca DeLong

December 10, 2018

I regret that I can not attend the memorial service. Mary Jane was such an important part of my family's life when the children were little. I always think of the quote "Little faces looking up, holding wonder like a cup" when I think of Mary Jane. I am deeply grateful that she was part of the "village" that helped to raise my children. Our lives are better because she was here.

Judy Morran

December 8, 2018

I observed Mary Jane when I was studying Early Childhood Education at Indiana University. I was amazed at her demeanor with young children. She was respectful, caring and focused in every interaction with them. I determined to model her behavior and professionalism. When my son was in her summer program I saw the same gentle, respectful attributes when I volunteered. She was a giant in the Early Childhood Program in Bloomington. Parents and children alike owe this woman so much!

David Gallahue

December 7, 2018

My many fond memories of Mary Jane go back to the 1970’s and beyond when I was a frequent visitor to her preschool program at St Marks Church. She was wonderful with children, always focused on developmentally appropriate activities and the success of her students. Achieving program certification via the NAEYC was a special accomplishment. So much so that I was quick to send my IU students to observe and work with Mary Jane. Master teacher, gentle soul: A life so very well lived. Rest peacefully, Mary Jane.
David/ Ellie Gallahue

Linda Stickels Clark

December 7, 2018

So sorry for your loss. Keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Linda Clark, Adams grandmother