Mary Jane was born on August 31, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois to Ruth Lorraine Harriet Blaire and William Dale Spafford. She spent most of her childhood in Hammond, Indiana and graduated from Hammond High School in 1938 at the age of 16.
She met Robert Lee Atkins and they wed in 1941. She then gave birth to Robert Cooper Atkins in 1942. Then came Karen Jill Atkins a year later in 1943. When Bob came home from the war, he ended the marriage. Mary Jane, with all the kids, then moved to California in 1945 and she began working for a War factory and the telephone company.
She later met and wed Thomas Phillip Shelly in 1948. They lived in Canoga Park. Thomas William Shelly was born in 1949, then came William Charles Shelly in 1951 and then James Paul Shelly in 1954.
After their marriage ended in 1959. She decided to start nursing school in North Hollywood but did not finish her degree at that time. She got a job working as a nurse for Dr. Delong, a holistic doctor in Encino. This began her interest in natural medicine.
In 1960, she and the kids moved to Lake Arrowhead. She worked her way up to becoming head nurse at Dr. Lawsches office and worked in the emergency departments at Lake Arrowhead hospital and Big Bear hospital. She also worked on the weekends as Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Village, such a perfect job for her!
She and the kids then moved to Santa Ynez valley and she met and wed Freddy Albert Muth in 1965. She worked as a nurse at that time for Dr. Kaslow in Solvang. They moved to Isla Vista and she graduated from Santa Barbara City College in 1970 with an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. She then continued her education at Chico State University and graduated in 1972 with a Bachelors of Science degree in nursing and then with a Master’s of Science degree in Nursing in 1974. She later continued her education and she was just a few units shy of becoming a Doctor. She had a deep passion for helping and caring for others. She became a nursing instructor for the University from 1974-1975. After that, she started working for Santa Barbara County School District as a traveling school nurse. She loved working with children. She then retired in 1989.
Her and Fred moved to Camarillo and resided there for 31 years. Over the years, she cared for her Mother and later her husband when he became ill. She was the family nurse and truly enjoyed it. She also helped home school John and Jeni over the years and spent countless hours caring for her great grandchildren Faith, Jacob, Starr and Caleb. She loved spending time with her family.
Also during this time, although she always had a belief in God, she came to a true and saving knowledge of Christ and received Him as her Lord and Savior. That was, as she acknowledged, the most significant event that took place in her life. She loved Christ, spent much time in His word and in prayer. She looked forward to that day that she would be in his presence.
She has left an amazing legacy that has affected us all.
Mary Jane is survived by 5 children, 15 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren, and 1 new great great grandchild.