St Patrick-St Anthony Church
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Mary Jane Crosson

1925 - 2019
Mary Jane Crosson Obituary
Mary Jane Chessa Crosson of Bloomfield, Connecticut, and Quonochontaug, Rhode Island, died peacefully in her sleep at her Duncaster home November 30. She was 94. Born on October 4, 1925, in Windber, Pennsylvania, to Sardinian immigrants Giovanni Chessa and Gavina Saba Chessa, Mary Jane and her identical twin sister Joann--and younger brothers Frank and John-- were raised in Roslyn, New York. The sisters excelled in the public school system there, with Mary Jane winning awards for running races in elementary school, and then for academics, writing and oratory skills at Port Washington High School. After graduation, the twins enrolled in the School of Speech and Drama in New York City and auditioned for the "Which Twin Has The Toni" commercials. Budding careers in acting gave way to a fortunate opportunity to work at IBM headquarters on Madison Avenue in NYC in the late 1940s. As IBM System Service Women, they traveled the U.S. and Europe to run educational training programs for corporate staff on the IBM Selectric typewriter. Mary Jane's life path changed dramatically after her twin invited her to dinner one evening in 1959. There, Mary Jane met her future husband John B. (Jack) Crosson, a widower living in West Hartford with three young children--Katherine, David, and Ann. The couple married a year later, moved to Walbridge Road, and had three more children--Caroline, Diane, and John. A lifelong learner, Mary Jane returned to college when her youngest child was in elementary school. She received an associates degree from Hartford College for Women in 1975 and then enrolled at Smith College as an Ada Comstock Scholar, earning a bachelor's degree in art history in 1978. She returned to Hartford College for Women in a professional capacity as Director of Alumnae, and later, as Director of Special Events and Lecture Series. Her volunteer leadership positions included tenures as President of the Hartford Stage Company Stagehands; President of the Hartford Smith College Club; and 38 years as a docent at the Wadsworth Atheneum, where she conducted tours in English and Italian, and was a mentor. Worldly, intellectual, and an animated and engaging speaker, Mary Jane was pleased to be invited to join Friday Club, a local women's group. For decades, she relished researching and writing papers and presenting them at Friday Club meetings--always first practicing in front of her husband and children. For many years she was also a regular lector at Sacred Heart Church in Bloomfield. Admired for her grace, serenity, intelligence, and strength of mind, Mary Jane was sought out by many for her sound advice and wise counsel. She and her husband loved to entertain and to travel with lasting friends from Connecticut and from Quonochontaug, Rhode Island, and Mary Jane continued traveling the world after Jack died in 1999. In addition to her husband, Mary Jane was predeceased by her sister Joann and her brother Frank. She leaves a brother, John Chessa, and his wife, Judy Lake Chessa, as well as her six children and their spouses: Katherine Crosson (Lynn Bailets), David Crosson, Ann Tyler (Michael Tyler), Caroline Crosson Gilpin, Diane McEnroe (Mark McEnroe), and John Crosson (Christina Mainelli). She also leaves her 13 treasured grandchildren: Drew Tyler, Joseph Tyler, Patrick Tyler, Dylan Crosson, Margaret Crosson, Katherine Gilpin, Megan Gilpin, John Gilpin, Liam McEnroe, Maria McEnroe, Ciaran McEnroe, Grace Crosson, and Clare Crosson; neices and nephews Robert Hauck, Peter Hauck, Michael Chessa, Amanda Chessa, Jack Chessa, and Christine Silva and their families; her Sardinian relatives; and a large group of beloved and loyal friends. A mass of Christian burial will take place at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church in Hartford, Connecticut on Friday, December 20 at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Wadsworth Atheneum.
Published in The Hartford Courant on Dec. 8, 2019
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