Mary Jo married Terry Foerste on February 7, 1970, and the couple celebrated 51 years of marriage in February 2021.
Mary Jo was a retired special education teacher. She graduated from Notre Dame High School and then from Illinois State University. She taught special education for over 20 years in Belleville District 118 where she cherished her students and her colleagues. Mary Jo was the founder and former owner of My Tutor Learning Center. In her retirement, Mary Jo enjoyed her grandchildren, traveling, crafts, and entertaining. She was a devout Catholic and longtime member of St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, Belleville, IL. Mary Jo enjoyed volunteering her time and belonged to many organizations including Junior Service Club, and life member of Cambridge Who’s Who. She was nominated and approved to represent Women in Business in Who’s Who in America. She was also a member of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, ambassador for the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, Ambassador of the Year for the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, active in the Belle-Scott Organization, and an annual volunteer for Art on the Square.
Mary Jo was known as MJ or Jo, but her favorite titles were of Mom, Granny and Aunt Jo. Her heart, arms and kitchen were always open. She never hesitated to provide support, advice, encouragement, a much-needed hug or just a simple cup of coffee. Her beautiful spirit and infectious smile could light up a room. During her hardest challenges she remained poised, polite, and gracious. Her granddaughters were her greatest joy. Although separated by miles, she would drop everything to be available for them. She never missed a big event and would always find a way to add her bit of Granny flare to any occasion. She was so proud of all their accomplishments. Mary Jo chose to pour her heart and light into everyone she met so that they could be a beacon to others.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Margaret, nee Harst, Vernier; an aunt, Marie Crannage; and her in-laws, Wallace and Katherine Foerste.
She is survived by her husband, Terry Foerste; her children, Jeffrey (Laurel) Foerste, and Tori (Aubrey Waddail) Foerste; four grandchildren, Katie and Lily Foerste, and Ava and Kendall Waddail-Foerste; a brother, Rick Vernier; a niece, Ali (Josh) Schaefer; and many cousins and countless special friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy, or to St. Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Church, Belleville, IL. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may visit from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 13, 2021, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.
Funeral: Memorial services will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 13, 2021, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, with Msgr. William McGhee officiating.