Mary Jane Curtin, 94, passed away in the presence of her loving family on February 5th in Fairfield, Connecticut after a brief illness. Known to all as 'Teedie', she was born on July 21,1924 to John and Nora (Callow) Dunn of Syracuse. She grew up on Stolp Ave. and attended Most Holy Rosary School where she excelled at academics, piano and making friends. She graduated in 1942 with honors and received the 'Most Holy Rosary Girl' Award. Although it was suggested by Monsignor McDowell that she attend a convent, she had aspirations to continue her education on the Hill. After graduating from Syracuse University's School of Business in 1946 she was hired as the assistant to the SU Athletic Director, Lew Andreas. She was always grateful to have had the opportunity to work for Mr. Andreas, whom she described as "a wonderful boss and the nicest man in college sports." She became an avid sports fan and attended SU football, basketball and lacrosse games for the rest of her life. She left her position to marry a fellow SU graduate, Daniel J. Curtin, and begin a family that they would raise in Fayetteville. For the following 30 years she devoted herself to being a loving mother to her six children, a dedicated community volunteer, and an organizer of house tours, fashion shows and dinner- dances to raise funds for both Holy Cross School and The Convent School. In 1977, after her youngest left for college, she took a position as a nursery school music director. She played the piano and artfully taught musical fingerplays and vintage nursery songs to her 'itsy-bitsy 2s' through 5 year olds. Like Miss Teedie, the songs were clever, fun and uplifting. She enchanted children with her playful humor and enthusiasm for over three decades until she retired at age 89. She received many letters from former students crediting her for initiating their lifelong love of music.
Teedie had a golden heart that always put others first and a compassionate soul that could ease your pain with just a few encouraging words. She was an optimist (except about the Syracuse weather) and had a quick wit that added delight to any conversation. Her sense of wonder and curiosity never ceased. She travelled to all corners of the world including an Antarctic expedition at age 81 and an Alaskan cruise at 84. She loved trying new things and had just learned to dance the salsa on the day before she fell ill. But most of all, she loved being a Grandma to Liza (Billington) Joyner, Drew and Cole Billington, and Christopher Barnes. Just the mention of their names would make her smile. In addition she is survived by five children: Mary Elizabeth of Guadalajara, Mexico, Dr. Ellen Leigh of Liverpool, Christine Curtin-Barnes (Michael) of Manhattan, John McAndrews of Virginia, and Nancy Billington (John) of Fairfield, CT; son-in-law, Jason Joyner; a cousin, Betty Jane (Sal) Arrigo;
5 nieces, 4 nephews, and their children. She is predeceased by her daughter, Karen Ann; her sister, Elizabeth Murnane; her ex-husband, Daniel J. Curtin; and more beloved, true-blue friends than imaginable in one lifetime.
A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Most Holy Rosary Church,111 Roberts Ave, Syracuse followed by internment in St. Mary's Cemetery in Dewitt.