Mary Shown

Obituary of Mary Ann Shown

Molly Shown (aka Grandma Molly, Nana, Grandma Grey Squirrel) died Thursday, March 2, 2023.

Mary Ann (Molly) Shown was born February 11, 1942 in Keokuk, Iowa to Pat and Helen O’Brien. She lived in Hamilton, Illinois until 1948 when the family moved to Coolidge, Arizona because of her asthma. She attended elementary and high school there and graduated from Coolidge High School. She attended Colorado State College in Greeley, graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor’s degree in English.

Molly was employed for a year in the newsroom of the Greeley Tribune. While there, she visited a child who had special needs and she became interested in Special Education. She soon returned to Arizona for a job at the Arizona Training Center at Coolidge. She was part of a team to fulfill a federal grant for improvement of the state institution for people with mental disabilities. During this time, Molly also attended ASU and obtained teacher certification credentials and earned credits in Special Education, eventually gaining credentials for teaching students with mental and physical disabilities.

Molly became reacquainted with a college classmate and close friend, John Shown, and met his little son, Jerry. In 1976, Molly and John married wearing bicentennial wardrobes. They moved to Mesa, Arizona and later had two more sons, Joseph and John.

In 1978, Molly left the Training Center and joined the faculty of Parkway School in Mesa, a school for students with disabilities. Molly then began teaching at Taylor Junior High in Mesa. She taught students with severe mental and physical disabilities for 17 years. She started the PALS (Peer Assisted Learning System), which gave regular and special education students an opportunity to be together and learn from each other. Molly retired from teaching after 40 years in 2007.

In 2008, Molly began to volunteer with the Mesa Laubach Literacy Council to help adults to learn English as a second language. She tutored individual students and facilitated conversation classes for many years. She was also a member of the Laubach Literacy Council board for two years.

Molly enjoyed many activities like being with her family, bird watching, reading, and watching sports on TV, especially baseball. Molly is survived by her husband John, sons Jerry (Shelly), Joe (Kim), and Johnny, eight grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

There will be no service. Donations may be made to the Mesa Public Library or the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Shown , please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Mary
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Legacy Funeral Home - Rose Chapel
Share Your Memory of