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Mary Agnes Janney (born Peterson), 96, of Lambertville, Michigan, passed away October 18, 2023, at Hospice of Northwest Ohio. In her final days, she was surrounded by friends, family, and her faithful dog Buddy.
Mary was born December 10, 1926, in Toledo, Ohio, to parents Harry and Pearl (born Reinbolt) Peterson. Her father came to the United States as a teen from the village of Malaxa, about a 15-minute drive from the harbor town Chania on the island of Crete in Greece. At Ellis Island, Harry’s surname was changed from Paterakis to Peterson. While Mary was growing up, her parents owned a small restaurant in Toledo, Canary Cottage, and she would work behind the counter and in the kitchen, making bread and helping customers. She graduated from Whitmer High School.
In 1947, she married Arnold “Joe” Hugh Janney. Mary felt at home wherever Joe was, and in turn, she made their house on Ganymede Drive, in Toledo, a home. They had two sons, Douglas Smith and Timothy Donald Janney. In the 1965-1966 school year, “Papa Joe” and “Mama Mary” welcomed Italian exchange student Andrea “Andy” Del Re, and to this day, the Janney and Del Re families remain closely connected.
Together, over 65 years of marriage, Mary and Joe spent vacations at the Janney cabin on Black Lake in Onaway, Michigan, traveled the world, collected antiques, and attended and hosted numerous gatherings from having friends or family over for dinner or cards to large parties. The ultimate hostess, Mary had a way of making all feel welcome, befriending – and feeding – nearly everyone she met. Even in her last days, she would muster the energy to offer visitors food and drink and check whether her aides had eaten yet. An accomplished cook and baker, she passed on her recipes and secrets by baking alongside her grandchildren.
When her sons started school, Mary began teaching kindergarten and nursery school at Trilby Elementary and later nursery school at Christ Presbyterian Church. She was also a member of the Trilby Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Ladies Auxiliary and the Flower Hospital Ladies Auxiliary. Mary volunteered with Mobile Meals of Toledo delivering and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio providing and preparing meals.
Her garden was her pride and joy, and she recruited each of her grandchildren to help weed, plant, and landscape her beautiful flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Mary loved being active and played singles and doubles tennis, golfed alongside Joe, and walked the perimeter of Franklin Park Mall every morning for decades. She also loved to shop for clothes, for bargains, and especially for clothes bargains. Even in her gardening clothes, she was always impeccably dressed and her house tastefully decorated and presented.
Though Mary was known as “Grandma,” “Mimi,” and “GeGe” to some, Joe affectionately called her “Charlie."
Mary was preceded in death by her devoted husband, parents, siblings William Augustus “Gus” (Ann) Peterson, Margaret (Eugene) Luczkowski, Helen (Stanton) Tobus, Harry “Junior” Peterson, and chosen sister Beverly Claire Brondes (born Miller).
Left to cherish her memory are her sons Douglas (Carol) and Timothy (Diana) Janney, honorary son Andrea (Annalisa) Del Re, grandchildren Todd (Carrie) and Jasen “Jake” Bruning, Adrienne “Addie” Janney, Nicole Willoughby, Nicholas (Whitney) Janney, and Alexi (Matthew) Plant, great-grandchildren Samantha (Anthony) Nava, Jacob and Branden Bruning, Timothy Willoughby, Landon, Olivia, Adeline, Cora, and Charlotte Janney, and Noah Plant, great-great grandchildren Erin, Ella, and Alice Nava, and sister Sally Bucklew.
Friends may call at the Reeb Funeral Home, 5712 N. Main St., Sylvania, Ohio, Sunday, November 5, 2023, 2-8 p.m. Her life will be celebrated at The Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 2820 W. Alexis Rd., Toledo, Ohio, Monday, November 6, 2023, at 11 a.m., where she and Joe were founding members and she cared lovingly for the flower beds.
The family would like to thank Sue Wendt and the team at Christian Home Care for their loving care over the past four years, particularly over these past several months, and Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
Those wishing to give memorials, in lieu of flowers, are asked to consider The Lutheran Church of Our Savior, The Toledo Children’s Hospital, or the charity of their choice.
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