Mary Jane Webber Van Buskirk
Mary Jane Webber Van Buskirk, 89, completed her life journey at Messiah Village, Mechanicsburg, PA on August 15, 2021.
Mary is survived by her husband of 68 years, Dr. Max Van Buskirk, Jr, and five children, Peter (Mischelle) of Lancaster, Margaret of Enola, Ruth Skonecki (Edmund) of Mechanicsburg, John (Laurence) of Lewisberry, and Mark (Michelle) of Richmond, IN; fourteen grandchildren, Jennifer Eaton, Heidi Van Buskirk, Kyle Van Buskirk, Taiyo Asano, Ethan Van Buskirk, Aaron Skonecki, Mori Asano, Leo Van Buskirk, Rachel Skonecki, Owen Skonecki, Christian Max Van Buskirk, Luc Van Buskirk, Tess Van Buskirk, and Maia Van Buskirk; five great grandchildren, Callen Wendler, Sophia Eaton, Carys Eaton, Wyeth Peitzman-Van Buskirk and Juniper Peitzman-Van Buskirk; and a brother, William R. Webber (Burlington, NC). Mary was preceded in death by grandson, Jonathan Skonecki.
Born on November 24, 1931 in Pottsville, PA, Mary was the daughter of Marguerite Patton Webber and Harold F. Webber. Her formative years were spent in Hollidaysburg and Somerset where her father served as a civil engineer during the construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. She graduated from Lewisburg High School, class of ’49, and cum laude from Bucknell University, class of ’53, where she majored in Music and English. While in college, she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and sang with the Bucknell Chapel Choir.
Married on August 30, 1953, Mary worked in Philadelphia as a medical secretary and substitute teacher while Max finished veterinary school. They returned to Lewisburg in 1956 where they resided for the next 26 years.
Music became a passion early in Mary’s life. She was a clarinetist and played the piano, a talent that afforded her many opportunities to accompany Max’s vocal solos over the years. She passed her love of music, and the arts in general, along to her children and grandchildren as well as hundreds of other young people for whom she provided piano and organ lessons.
Mary took an active role in her children’s lives serving as a Cub Scout Den Mother and Girl Scout leader. She encouraged reading, enjoyed playing games and was an especially formidable opponent in double solitaire! Mary also found opportunities through international exchange and foreign student study programs to welcome young people from countries around the world into her home, creating valuable cross-cultural experiences for her family.
A friend to anyone in need, Mary especially loved being with her family and would look forward to baking and doing craft projects with her grandchildren. She especially enjoyed outings at the family cabin in Millmont where family and friends would gather on a regular basis.
Outside of the home, Mary served as church organist at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Lewisburg where she was honored as a 50-year member and, later, as a Commissioned Church Worker at Colonial Park United Church of Christ. She was most recently a member at Camp Hill United Methodist Church. A matter of particular pride for Mary were the numerous weddings for which she provided organ music.
Mary served as a school board director for the Lewisburg Area School District and was active with the Harrisburg Ladies Study Club. She was a member of the American Association of University Women, the American Veterinary Medical Association Auxiliary, and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Auxiliary.
A celebration of Mary’s life will take place at a date to be determined in 2022. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mary Van Buskirk's memory may be made to Messiah Lifeways Endowment for Benevolent Care.
Mary’s family has entrusted her care to Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421. Read Mary’s full obituary, offer condolences and sympathy, share stories and memories, upload photographs and videos, light a candle and sign her official guest book by visiting Buhrig.com.
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Endowment Fund for Benevolent Care at Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village
100 Mt. Allen Drive, Mechanicsburg PA 17055