Mary Jo Balshaw Stanley, born March 19, 1933, passed away on January 18, 2017. Mary Jo was a proud native Texan. She was born and raised in the Houston area, residing there until moving to Georgetown, Texas, ten years ago, and more recently, Austin.
Mary Jo was predeceased by her parents, Maurice Christy Balshaw Sr. and Josephine Richey Balshaw, her brother, Maurice Christy Balshaw Jr. and her son, Randy Wieser.
Mary Jo considered her most important roles in life to be those of wife, mother, and grandmother. Her life centered around her family. She was a true matriarch in every sense of the word.
Mary Jo loved beautiful things, and was in her element shopping, preferably with her daughters by her side. She had a keen eye for design and was an avid collector. She was active in her community, and instilled in her children and grandchildren an appreciation of life and a desire to make a difference. Mary Jo was playful, generous, and loved to gather others around her. She delighted in decorating and entertaining, especially during her favorite holiday, Christmas.
Mary Jo desired to help everyone be the best they could be, and she never met a stranger. She was quick to engage others, learn their stories, and offer her wisdom. While her advice might be unsolicited, it was often appreciated and spot on. The more of it she offered, the more you knew that she cared.
Mary Jo dearly loved her family composed of her husband of 53 years, Stephen Stanley, her daughter and son-in-law, Desiree and Rich Payne of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and her daughter and son-in-law, Sherrie and Bob Frachtman, of Austin, Texas. She adored and was very proud of her grandchildren, Julian, Brandon, and Adrienne Frachtman, and she was delighted to have gotten to know and love Julian's fiancé, Leah Salloway, and Brandon's girlfriend, Lindsay Whitney. She was especially close to Bob's brothers, Michael and Rick, and their families and to Bob's cousin, Jan Soifer, and her family as well as to many of Sherrie and Desiree's friends. She loved Myra Eppright like another daughter.
The family would like to express sincere gratitude to the many family members and friends who visited and offered prayers for Mary Jo during her recent illness. In addition, they are very grateful to the Hospice Austin team, led by nurse Mary Gilmore, who managed her healthcare and supported the entire family in so many ways. A special thank you goes to Ella and Lizeth, Mary Jo's "angels", for the special role they played on the Hospice team. Also appreciated are the wonderful caregivers both at Brookdale Heritage Gaines Ranch, most especially compassionate nurse-to-be Margaret, and from Nurses Case Management, including Kannis, Becky, and Almertha. There were many physicians who cared for Mary Jo with a high level of compassion over the last ten years – Dr. Anthony Shallin, Dr. Tom Blevins, Dr. Ken Ellis, Dr. Todd Smith, Dr. Jeffrey Miller, Dr. Jeff Kocurek, Dr. Christine Anderson, Dr. Michael Kasper, and Dr. Faith Holmes as well as her dentist, Dr. Mark Sweeney. The family is also grateful to her hairdresser Wanda and trainer John in Georgetown who brought her much happiness.
A graveside service will be held in Houston, Texas at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery at 3:00PM on Saturday, January 21st to be followed by a reception – location to be announced. In Austin, there will be a gathering to celebrate Mary Jo's life on Tuesday, January 24th at 7:00PM at the Frachtman's home.
Should you wish to make a tribute in Mary Jo's memory, please consider doing so to Hospice Austin (go to https://www.hospiceaustin.org/donation-form/ or call (512) 342-4747) or to Friends of Sheba Medical Center. (For the latter go to http://www.friendsofsheba.org/donation/, click "Designation - Where it is most needed" and then select "Pancreatic Cancer Center".)