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Mary Jane M. Schier

March 10, 1939 July 21, 2023
Mary Jane M. Schier
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Obituary for Mary Jane M. Schier

Mary Jane (McDonald) Schier, 84, of Houston, Texas, passed away peacefully on July 21, 2023, in her adopted state of Massachusetts.

Mary Jane was born on March 10, 1939, in Houston, Texas, to James F. and Jerry Mae (Crisp) McDonald. She grew up in nearby Sealy, where she graduated from Sealy High School. She then attended Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, where she graduated at the top of her class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism in 1961.

Through her personal, family, work and church relationships, Mary Jane left a lasting, positive impact on the people she met. She was very kind, loving and generous; and never hesitated to help anyone in need, even when working through and overcoming challenges and hardships in her own life. She was well known for her deep sense of caring and a robust sense of humor. She developed a lifelong love of learning and mentoring.

After earning her degree in journalism, Mary Jane became a medical writer for the Oklahoma City daily newspaper, The Oklahoman, and later, the San Antonio Express - News. At a time when there were few women in the newsroom, Mary Jane made her mark locally and nationally as a medical and science writer and reporter. In 1966, she moved with her young family back to Houston where she covered health, medicine and science for the Houston Post. She worked for the Post for nearly 20 years, during a time when the city enjoyed two daily newspapers. She covered the growing Texas Medical Center and its many global research contributions to cancer, cardiac, pediatric and trauma medicine; cultivating relationships with physicians, scientists, patients and staff. Mary Jane played a pivotal role in the movement of healthcare consumerism while educating individuals about how they could take charge of their own health through her news stories.

Following patients and telling stories of new treatments through their eyes were among her most notable skills. Mary Jane’s work earned her multiple awards from the Texas Headliners Club, Texas Medical Association, Texas Hospital Association and Texas Public Health Association. Covering her beat with integrity, compassion, credibility, and spirited competition, she opened doors for many more women in journalism throughout her career.

In 1984, Mary Jane joined The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as University Editor and science writer. A senior member of the Public Affairs staff, Mary Jane put to work her experience to start and edit the institution’s quarterly magazine, Conquest, an award-winning publication that shared patient, faculty and staff profiles and research stories for more than 30 years. She also was instrumental in preserving and documenting MD Anderson’s institutional

history through her writing, along with serving on the Historical Resources Committee. She worked closely with author James S. Olson on a comprehensive history of the institution

entitled, Making Cancer History, which was published in 2009, and became part of MD Anderson’s promotional awareness and outreach messages that are still prominently displayed

to this day. Mary Jane also helped organize the annual Faculty Convocation for more than a decade. She was a dedicated supporter of the Children’s Art Project and a loyal customer of the hospital’s volunteer gift shops. A beloved member of the Public Affairs team, Mary Jane received MD Anderson’s first Distinguished Mentoring Award in 2011 after her nomination by multiple colleagues.

After she retired from MD Anderson in 2012, Mary Jane spent more time with her friends and family in Houston. She moved to Massachusetts with her family in 2016 to support and stay

close to her grandsons as they pursue their ice hockey dreams. She loved all sports, especially hockey, which her sons and grandsons played from boyhood. After her move, she streamed the boys’ hockey games on her television when she could no longer sit in the stands

as she had for decades. Besides hockey, she loved watching Texas A&M University football. She was an excellent cook and also enjoyed playing cards and games with her family and friends, spoiling her Boston Terriers, and eating Mexican food – she was known to favor “fajitas and ‘ritas.”

Mary Jane is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Robin Schier of Ashburnham, MA, her grandsons Ethan and Ryan, and many extended family members and friends. She is predeceased by her son, John Christian “Chris” Schier and her brother, Jim McDonald.

We miss her very much, and always will…

At this time, no services have been planned.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made in Mary Jane’s honor and memory to MD Anderson Cancer Center at:

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