Born: August 23, 1930, Omaha, Nebraska Died: April 1, 2023, Hutchinson, Kansas
Mary Jane Carpenter was born to Sebastian and Frieda (Catania) Gaeta on August 23, 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska. Mary was the eldest of six children. She grew up with four brothers and a sister in the Little Italy section of Omaha and attended Train School. Upon completion of her schooling she aspired to work as a hairstylist and earned her state of Nebraska cosmetology certification. She owned and operated her own hair salon in Omaha for a number of years.
She would meet her future husband, an Offutt Air Force Base airman from Louisiana named Henry "Hank" Carpenter in 1963 and they were married on April 4, 1964. Hank and Mary Jane raised four children and lived in Omaha and Grand Island, Nebraska. He as a furniture salesman and she as a hairstylist before deciding to resettle to Tecumseh, Nebraska in 1974, where they started their own business, Tecumseh Furniture. They began with a modest location just off the courthouse square in downtown Tecumseh, before relocating to the more familiar location out at the Hwy 50 & 136 junction in 1978.
Mary Jane continued work as a hairstylist in Tecumseh for a few years but ultimately decided to stop and help out her husband with the furniture store operation full time. She would continue to keep her cosmetology certification current through the end of the 1990’s. In 1982, Hank and Mary Jane added a second location in nearby Auburn, and in 1985 turned their original downtown location into the Tecumseh Flea Market with their sons Steve and Scott helping out with the family business. By the late 1990’s with their children grown up, Hank and Mary Jane scaled back their business to the Tecumseh store which they ran until Hank’s passing in April 2017.
Mary Jane enjoyed a number of hobbies over the course of her life. Her passion was cooking. She also enjoyed crocheting, gardening and for many years competed in the Wednesday night mixed bowling league with her husband and friends. She was very close to her family, often making frequent trips to Omaha to visit with her mother Frieda and her siblings, and across Nebraska and Kansas to visit their children. Hank and Mary Jane were longtime members of St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Tecumseh.
Mary Jane is survived by her son David Copeland of Punta Gorda, FL and his four children Heather, Holly, Melissa and Kristen; son Steven Carpenter and wife Tina of Hutchinson, KS and their four children, sons Christopher Carpenter and wife Yvonna, Andrew Carpenter and wife Samantha and their daughters Karen, Hope and Parker; daughter Stephanie Doyle and husband Justin and their two daughters Peyton and son Jameson and Samantha; son Scott Carpenter of Wichita, KS; grandchildren Jeffrey Krotz of Lincoln and daughter Erin Krotz-Lee and husband Jeffrey of Omaha, sister Josephine Hancock of Fairlawn, Ohio and brothers John Gaeta and his wife Therese, and Michael Gaeta and wife Linda of Omaha and many nieces and nephews, relatives and friends.
Mary Jane is preceded in death by her parents, husband Henry, brother Joseph Gaeta of Fertile, MN and brother Frank Gaeta and his wife Patricia of Omaha, daughter Margaret (Peggy) Spence and son-in-law Ron of Aurora, Nebraska.
Mass of Christian Burial Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at the St. Andrew Catholic Church, Tecumseh, Nebraska with Father Christopher Kubat officiating. The link to the livestream of the service is also now available on the bottom of Mary Jane's webpage.
Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 10, 2023 at the Wherry Mortuary in Tecumseh, Nebraska. Rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m. at the church.
Interment will be in the St. Andrew Catholic Cemetery, Tecumseh, Nebraska.
Online condolences may be left @ www.wherrymortuary.com
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