March 13, 1936 – January 7, 2024
Mary Jo Zawadzki, 87, passed peacefully into the care of our Lord and Savior on Sunday, January 7, at her home in San Diego CA. Mary was born in Mishawaka, Indiana, the elder of two daughters born to Edgar and Lois Fulmer. She lived in Mishawaka until August, 1958, when she married Stephen J. Zawadzki, Jr., and they moved to Seattle, Washington.
Mary was an accomplished musician and teacher, specializing in violin. She began teaching beginning violin students at the age of 14. After graduating from Mishawaka High School in 1954, she continued music studies at St. Mary’s College of South Bend IN, and played violin in the college orchestra and in the Elkhart IN symphony, while teaching violin, viola and voice at home and at the South Bend Conservatory of Music. She loved children and many of her students were younger beginner students.
Her career resume’ includes volunteer teaching of English and violin at a village school in Okinawa, when Stephen was serving in the U. S. Air Force. She prided herself as being the first American to teach music at the Shimabuku school in Koza village, Okinawa, and was presented with a certificate of appreciation when she and her husband returned to the USA. Prior to moving to San Diego, CA in 1968, the family lived in Denver, CO, where she played violin in the Denver Businessmen’s Symphony Orchestra. After moving to San Diego, Mary continued private teaching at home for about another 30 years. She was also active in playing violin and singing in the choir in church.
Mary was extremely outgoing and friendly, and had many friends. She was very kind-hearted, loved children and supported several charities that cater to helping children. She was a fantastic mother and grandmother; family was her highest priority. She had a literary talent for writing poetry and a streak of artistic talent for sketching. She had a great sense of humor and was frequently the “life of the party.” Mary also liked cows and has quite a collection of cow figures and plush cows.
In spite of being beset with various health problems since childhood, she always maintained a positive attitude, was generally a happy person, and she had a very strong religious faith. Mary's passing will leave a void in the lives of family and many friends. A memorial celebration of life service (streamed at fumcsd.org), will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, February 17, at First United Methodist Church, 2111 Camino del Rio South, with a reception following the service. Her favorite color was blue, so attendees are asked to wear something blue. Mary will be interred at El Camino Memorial Park, at a family only graveside service. The family also wishes to extend its thanks and appreciation to the home hospice nurses and personal caregivers who provided loving care and comfort to Mary in her time of need.
Mary is survived by her husband, Steve, two daughters; Linda (Mike) Lacy of Portsmouth, VA, and Karen (Wayne) Voogd of San Diego; as well as three grandchildren; Matthew Voogd, Jennifer Voogd and Emily Jo (Lacy) Rosas. Her younger sister, Patsy Lou Downing, of Mishawaka IN, passed away in 2016.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to Covenant House, www.Covenanthouse.org/OASInvite; St. Jude Children’s Hospital, www.stjude.org/donatetoday; or Christian Appalachian Project, www.Christianapp.org.