Mary Catherine Donohue Shunneson (80) of Portage, MI passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 13, 2020 surrounded by her family and God’s angels. Mary Kaye was born on April 1, 1939 in Chicago, IL the daughter of the late William Edward Donohue and Catherine Lucille (Hudson) Donohue. Following the sudden death of her father in October 1941, her mother relocated with her and her brother back to Kalamazoo, MI to be close to family and lifelong friends. They attended St. Joseph Parish and lived in a large house in the Washington Square neighborhood with her grandparents Vern & Lucy Hudson, her Uncle Pat Hudson, and a Great Aunt Catherine Sage. When describing her childhood home she always said, “Most homes in the 40s and 50s had 2 adults and 5 kids, we had the opposite, 2 kids and 5 adults”! Mary Kaye was a graduate of St. Augustine High School in Kalamazoo Class of 1957 and a graduate of Western Michigan University. She taught third grade and kindergarten in the Portage Public Schools as well as many years of elementary religious education classes at St. Monica and St. Catherine of Siena parishes in Kalamazoo.On April 20, 1965, Mary Kaye was united in marriage to, James M. Shunneson, whom she met on a blind date to attend a Lake Michigan beach party. Their nearly 55 year marriage created a loving family, which includes daughter, Monica Shunneson of Portage, MI, daughter Karen (Jon) Garter (Tyler and Bridget) of Lowell, MI, daughter Elizabeth (Greg) Terrill (Joseph, Grace, Cyrus) of Kalamazoo, MI and son James Michael (Stephanie) Shunneson (Caitlin, Aidan, Sacha) of New Castle, IN. She is survived by her loving husband, children and grandchildren as well as her brother Bill (Jane) Donohue of Chapin, SC and several cherished nieces and nephews, cousins, and life long friends.Mary’s Catholic faith and Irish heritage were her foundation, and she and her husband are charter members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Portage, MI where she had been a religious education teacher and member of the funeral choir. She also volunteered her time at the St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift shop in Kalamazoo and was a member of several prayer groups. With her prayer lists active and rosary beads always in her hand or in a pocket with several other rosaries strategically placed throughout the house and in the cars and in her walker, she could be in constant prayer. On a pilgrimage bus trip she learned the beautiful art of rosary making so in her retirement she spent countless hours making thousands of rosaries for the missions and area priests. She had a great devotion to Our Blessed Mother and shared her gift of faith in Jesus and the power of prayer in action with her family, friends, and neighbors.Mary Kaye loved her family, loved her faith, loved her friends. She loved to garden, loved the smell of Fall, the first snow of Winter, the Spring daffodils and the sound of Spring peepers, the light of Summer fireflies, the sound of a whippoorwill singing and road trips to the beach. She loved to travel enjoying many trips to Ireland, Italy, France, Medjugorje, Poland, Czech Republic, Nova Scotia and all over the United States. She always enjoyed taking the roads less traveled in Michigan in pursuit of “extinct” cattails and dirt roads for wildflowers that may need to be thinned a wee bit. She was a beautiful seamstress and arts and crafts queen. Although good, she didn’t care much for cooking and made cleaning into a family event. She perfected making the mundane into a party and the word bored was never in her vocabulary. She loved to sing and dance and was a good storyteller. A wonderful teacher she had a song for every situation or thought that came to her mind. She listened well, gave great thoughtful advice and at times used her Irish diplomacy. She was affectionate. She was funny. She brought joy to hearts and skips to steps.Visitation from 2-4 & 5-7pm with Rosary at 4pm will be held on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Redmond Funeral Home, Kalamazoo. On Thursday, February 20, 2020 family and friends will gather at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Portage, for the Rosary at 9:30am followed by visitation from 10-11am and Mass of Christian Burial at 11am, with Rev. Robert Creagan and Rev. Ben Huynh concelebrating. Burial will take place at Portage South Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society or the Marianist Mission Dayton, OH.
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