Mary Jane Starling passed away peacefully on the morning of February 24 at Hospice of Lancaster County. Formerly of Seitz Drive, Mrs. Starling had been a resident of St. Anne’s Retirement Community for the past year.
Born on July 28, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Francis A. Ritchey and Elizabeth Helfrich Ritchey. Mary Jane grew up on Cabbage Hill, where her father and brother owned and operated Ritchey’s Dairy. She was a graduate of Lancaster Catholic High School.
Mary Jane was the widow of Charles T. Starling, who died in 2003.
A homemaker all her life, Mary Jane also worked for several manufacturing companies, including Hamilton Watch, Schick, Hamilton Technologies and Nissin Foods.
Mary Jane enjoyed gardening, playing cards, reading, antiquing (searching for Ritchey’s milk bottles), attending her grandson’s sports activities, notably his swimming meets, dining at Kegel’s Seafood Restaurant (the only place she’d go) and vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
She was an avid NBA fan and never missed a televised 76ers game, as she felt it was her duty to “coach” Charles Barkley and her favorite player, Allan Iverson, from her wingback chair. Mary Jane was also an admirer of John Wayne and never missed his movies (despite seeing each one dozens of times). Her favorite Christmas gift was always the John Wayne calendar that her friend, Anita Bachman, gave her.
Always an admirer of Hillary Clinton, Mary Jane was determined to cast a vote for her in the 2008 PA primary, even if it meant walking a mile with her walker.
Mary Jane is survived by her daughters, Suzanne Long of Lancaster and Virginia Myers (John) of Ashland, Virginia, as well as her grandson, Charles Long, of Norfolk, Virginia, and several nieces and nephews.
Mary Jane was preceded in death by her brothers, Eugene, John and Francis.
A memorial service will be held on March 12th at 11 a.m. at the Richard A. Sheetz Funeral Home at 2024 Marietta Avenue in Rohrerstown with interment following in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. The family will visit with friends from 10:30 to 11 a.m. at the funeral home. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Hospice of Lancaster County or St. Anne’s Retirement Community in Columbia. The family would like to commend the staffs of those two organizations for the wonderful care they provided for Mrs. Starling. They would also like to thank Mary Jane’s friends, Anita Bachman and June Siford, for the devotion they paid her and the help they provided. Special thanks also go to Seitz Drive neighbors, Miriam and Dan Leaman, who always looked after her welfare.