Mary Jo Monakee Schwartz
August 14, 1961 – November 18, 2020
Mary Jo Monakee Schwartz
With deep sorrow and a deeper reverence for her memory, the family of Mary Jo (Monakee) Schwartz honors the occasion of her passing on November 18, 2020 in Rancho Mirage, California. In perfect harmony with Jesus, with angelic grace and her family at her side, Mary passed serenely at the age of 59 never surrendering once in her valiant 2-year battle with cancer.
Beloved wife, daughter, sister and aunt, her life was an inspiration to the souls of all who shared the joy of her compassion, kindness, unconditional love and generosity of spirit. Her devotion to Jesus and His Blessed Mother was expressed daily in the way she lived her life and embraced others.
Mary Jo is survived by her husband of 30 years, Harold, her Mother, Paulina Monakee, her sisters Gail Malt of Palm Beach Gardens, Pam Vaccaro (Sonny) of Rancho Mirage, Renee Fuqua (Jim) of Pebble Beach and nephew Chad Monakee (Kim) and great-nephews, Beau, Luke and Max of Palm Beach Gardens.
Born in Boardman, Ohio, Mary Jo excelled at everything she touched from being a member of the High School Marching band to becoming a Majorette to graduating Cum Laude from Florida Atlantic University with a dual major in Business/Marketing. After college she moved west to California and began her long professional life which included a 25-year career in advertising and marketing at several Los Angeles advertising agencies, where she worked with such clients as Honda, Chrysler, Rockwell International, Weight Watchers and Kawasaki. Later as an entrepreneur, Mary became Executive Vice-President of her own boutique advertising agency, working with such clients as Reebok and Adidas basketball. Still later, Mary Jo returned to college and changed vocations to share her deep love of children as a preschool teacher in the Palm Springs system and began authoring a series of children’s books.
Eternally cheerful and thoughtful of others, Mary had a passion for making every occasion special - birthdays or graduations, Christmases and Easters - celebrating each with beautifully-wrapped gifts and artful decorations (notably, her distinctive hand-made wreaths), creating delightfully joyful displays that created special memories year after year and each holiday season.
As a child she developed an affinity for butterflies, rainbows, hummingbirds which she always managed to incorporate into two of her most cherished pastimes of gardening and flower arranging. Her arrangements, a profusion of color and gorgeous blossoms, adorned many wedding receptions and would not have been out of place in the lobby of a 5-star hotel.
Selfless, generous and dedicated, Mary Jo resisted taking credit for a litany of charitable projects she conceived of and managed, preferring to eschew acknowledgement or praise for her countless acts of kindness - for several years, she was in charge of the Christmas holiday decorating for her church. For a Santa Monica homeless shelter, she arranged to have the entire building refurbished, contacting painting, carpeting, tile, plumbing and other contractors to donate their services to the renewal project. In the city of Palm Desert, she developed a presentation to the City Council which convinced the city to provide funding for a Head Start Program preschool to continue operating after it was scheduled to be closed. There were innumerable other acts, as well. As busy as her working life was, she still found time to be a devoted wife and daughter by joining her sisters in helping their live-in Mother remain vibrant with physical therapy and painting, as she remained active into her 90’s.
To every life she touched, from friends to associates, relatives to family - to the homeless soul sitting on the sidewalk for whom she regularly bought food - her memory will be treasured - a loving heart so special and cherished, she will remain an inspiration and role model that those who knew her can aspire to and hope to emulate.
And after all of these words -
they still fall far short of capturing a loss so profoundly soul-crushing, that words and tears fail to fully express the depth of the pain, feelings and emotions that are overwhelming many of us at this moment.
Though no longer among us, Our Blessed Mary Jo’s memory will remain in our hearts for Eternity.
Go with God our dearest, precious Angel of Light.
A private funeral will be held in Pacific Grove, California. Mary Jo will be laid to rest next to her father, EJ Monakee.
If you care to make a donation in Mary Jo’s memory, please consider one of the following charities, Sisters of St. Basil (SistersofStBasil.org), Mary Jo’s aunt, Sr. Fabian, is a member of their community or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (StJude.org).
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Mary Jo Monakee Schwartz
November 30, 2020
Mary Jo was one of the few people that I’ve ever met and liked immediately.
She was dating my youngest brother and they would drive over from Ft. Myers to visit My husband, Bruce and I.
Bruce was always a big tease but Mary Jo took everything in stride with a smile and dished a few things back on her own.
I can still see that radiating smile!
She was a light and a delight to be around and I missed her after they quit dating..
It’s no surprise that she ended up working with children. With the warmth and love she had to give, those children must have adored her.
I know that she will leave a big hole in the hearts of those who loved her but I hope, dear family, that you can find consolation in knowing that she lived a life that was pleasing to God and now has merited the reward she has found.
Be at peace Mary Jo !
Rich- Eileen Kosik
November 20, 2020
Mary Jo, her Family, Sister Pam are in our Prayers.
GOD Bless you.
The Kosik Family