Mary Jane Hunter of Cheektowaga earned her bachelor's degree in physics from D'Youville College in 1940, married her childhood sweetheart and began raising five children before returning to college to earn her master's degree in education in 1959 and embark on a 25-year career in teaching.
Mrs. Hunter died Nov. 4 in Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Cheektowaga. She was 88.
Born Mary Jane Murphy in Buffalo, she was a 1936 graduate of Lafayette High School. The daughter of a Buffalo sanitation worker, Mrs. Hunter was encouraged and supported by a maternal aunt to pursue college after high school.
After earning her academic degrees, Mrs. Hunter taught mathematics in the Buffalo Public School system for almost 25 years, completing her career at Campus West Elementary School on the Buffalo State College campus. She retired in 1981.
Known as Jean, Mrs. Hunter was active in the community. She was a member of the Maryvale School District planning board for many years and spent 15 years as a member of the Maryvale Community Education Board.
During the 1980s, Mrs. Hunter also taught classes aimed at preparing candidates to earn their general equivalency diplomas. She devoted much of her time to the Association for the Blind, where she volunteered as a proofreader of books for the blind.
Mrs. Hunter worked as a voting inspector for the Erie County Board of Elections. She became a member of the Christian Mothers Society of Our Lady of Christians Church in 1948, where she also was a Girl Scout leader. Her troop members remember that Mrs. Hunter's living room often was stacked with boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
Mrs. Hunter was a voracious reader who routinely read several books each week from her local public library, and devised a system to keep track of the books she borrowed so she would not accidentally borrow the same book twice.
She attended Mass daily and enjoyed gardening and knitting.
She is survived by three sons, Daniel R. Jr., Timothy J. and Michael M.; and two daughters, Jean Marie Lyons and Mary Jane Martinez.
A memorial Mass will be offered at 1 p.m. Saturday in Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church, 180 George Urban Blvd., Cheektowaga.