Success Story #8: Mary Jane McCurdy

One of the main parts of writing the “50@50” success stories is gathering as much information as possible on the person being featured from those who know the person best: friends, family members, and support staff. Often many different things about the featured individual come to light, but in the case of Mary Jane McCurdy, one thing was consistently mentioned by everyone… she’s quite the social animal!

Above: Mary Jane works on a St. Patrick’s Day craft project.

Not just any social animal. In the animal kingdom of social animals, Mary Jane McCurdy is the Big Foot of social animals; the T-Rex of social animals… bottom line, she’s just a very social person and likes being around people! If you have ever come within a 50-foot radius of Mary Jane, you have probably spoken to her, and are now on a first name basis with her.

“She’s very social and doesn’t know a stranger”, says Kelly, her support staff at Ruth Jensen Village (RJV). “As soon as she sees someone she’s never met before, she goes up and asks what their name is”, comments Selenia, her support staff at the Pike County Agency for Developmental Disabilities (PCADD). Although she is now enjoying her retirement years, one thing is certain… Mary Jane would be hired on the spot if she were to ever apply for any store greeter position.

Above: Mary Jane works on a puzzle at her home

Family is very important to Mary Jane. Her parents are no longer living, but she frequently visits their gravesite at Riverview Cemetery in Louisiana MO, sometimes setting out flowers. Mary Jane also maintains close contact with her sister in Vandalia, her uncle in Bowling Green, and her niece in Louisiana MO.

Mary Jane’s hobbies include doing word search puzzles, crafts, artwork, and working on jig saw puzzles. No puzzle is too complicated for her; she often completes 500 and 1,000 piece puzzles!

Mary Jane lives in a very nice home in Bowling Green with two other roommates; three if you count the furry, four-legged K-9 roommate known as “Honey”. Mary Jane’s residential supports are provided by RJV. Staff at RJV support Mary Jane in doing the things she wants to do, both at home and in the community, such as shopping and attending church at Faith Baptist Church in Louisiana. Mary Jane likes to maintain a clean house, and is great with the vacuum cleaner. Mary Jane’s love of family is evident by the many pictures of her family members that are found throughout her room. She also has a great collection of dolls and velveteen rabbits that she has on display.

Above: Mary Jane often places flowers at the grave site of her parents.

During the day, Mary Jane attends the PCADD Community Living Skills day program, and is supported by PCADD staff to do a variety of things in the community, such as helping out with the exercise activities at Country View Nursing Home and walking the track at the YMCA in Louisiana MO. Area dollar stores and Walmart are among Mary Jane’s favorite places to shop, and she occasionally gets to go on farther day trips to Hannibal, Troy, and Wentzville to see the sites in these communities. “I enjoy working with her; she very friendly, caring, and thinks a lot of her peers”, mentions Selenia, her support staff with PCADD.

Mary Jane McCurdy is one of a select number of people that we all know in life who make our day just a bit more pleasing by their friendly and easy-going demeanor. This fact alone qualifies Mary Jane as a success story. She’s a social animal, yes, but she doesn’t bite; you might just get a hug, though.

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