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Mary Jean Edstrom

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Mary Jean Edstrom Obituary
Mary Jean Edstrom La Jolla Mary Jean Edstrom, a former resident of La Jolla's Casa de Maana, passes away on Monday, April 16, 2018. She was surrounded by family and her loving companion, Bob Brabo.Previously, she was a member of Palm Desert's Ironwood Country Club and founder of The Finishing Touch, a popular interior design business in the Coachella Valley. Mary Jean was married to Everett Leonard Edstrom, co-founder with his brother, Hal, of the world's largest print music publishing company, Hal Leonard Publishing. As a youngster in Mapleton, MN her parents, Les and Eve Cronen, encouraged her to take dance lessons at which she excelled. However, when she attended the University of Minnesota Mary Jean intended to become a nurse. That dream ended unexpectedly when she saw her first operation: "too much blood," she told a professor, and immediately applied to the MacPhail School of Fine Arts. She was accepted, majored in dance and never looked back.Immediately, she was putting her dancing talent to patriotic use during WWII, performing for the USO at Fort Snelling in St. Paul to boost the morale of troops heading off to fight. Soon she was teaching dance professionally for Arthur Murray Studios in Minneapolis, with aspirations and offers to move to Hollywood and an acting career. In fact, her sister, Lois, was a featured performer with the renowned Ina Ray Hutton AllGirl Orchestra, and was urging Mary Jean to move to Los Angeles and begin an acting and dancing career.Then life took a wonderful turnWhen she was seventeen she had seen the Hal Leonard Orchestra, one of the most popular bands touring the Midwest. The leader caught her eye and near the end of the war her musician brother, Jim, introduced Hal Leonard, i.e. Ev Edstrom, to Mary Jean. It was love at first sight followed soon by a marriage proposal from the band leader. Recognizing that show business was not conducive to raising a family they put their professional plans aside, stayed in Minnesota and raised their family of five in Winona: Steve (San Francisco), Patricia (Redondo Beach, CA), Kim (La Jolla, (CA), Kate (Edina, MN) and Kris (Los Angeles, CA). As their family grew, Mary Jean began teaching youngsters at Mary Edstrom's School of Dance in Winona. She was also heavily involved in community service: the first woman to serve on the board of a local bank (Norwest); first woman on the board of the Winona YMCA, a member of the board of the Winona Community Memorial Hospital; a member of the Winona Country Club board of directors; and an ongoing volunteer in raising money for local charities.In 1986, Mary Jean and Ev bought a home at Ironwood Country Club. Ev played golf in retirement, and Mary launched her popular interior design company, The Finishing Touch.In 2000, Ev passed away. In 2013, at the age of 90 Mary Jean moved to La Jolla to be closer to her family. Her life and home in a villa overlooking the ocean at Casa de Maana continued to be filled with family, many friends and fun bridge, yoga, cardio classes, and staying current with technology including her iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and more. "Paradise," is how she described it.Over the years joy arrived with two grandchildren, Taylor and Skyler, and two great-grandchildren, Anthony and Isla Rose. Mary Jean Edstrom had a very strong family-based view of what mattered most in her life. She coupled that with community service, teaching youngsters to dance, a successful business she started in her 70's, and her awe-inspiring ability to enjoy her life from start until its finish when her great and beautiful heart tired, as did she. On Monday, April 16 at 5:06 p.m. Mom was gently embraced by eternity. Her legacy is the wonderful example she gave us of how to live a loving life filled with fun and service, with family always first. She left, but she is not gone. Please sign the guest book online at legacy.com/obituaries/ lajollalight .
Published in La Jolla Light on May 17, 2018
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