Obituary of Sister Mary Jo Young, OSF
Joliet Franciscan Sister Mary Jo (Kenneth Mary) Young, born on November 28, 1943, to the late Eleanor (Okutowski) and Kenneth B. Young, died peacefully on September 27, 2023, at Lightways Hospice, and has been cremated as was her wish. She was a devoted and cherished member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for almost 60 years.
Sister Mary Jo was one of nine children and grew up in Blue Island, Illinois. She was preceded in death by her brother Paul Young, sister-in-law Theresa Young and nephew Michael A. Byrnes. Mary Jo is survived by her sisters, Eleanor Breden, Therese Young, Gina Byrnes, and her brothers Kenneth (Helen) Young, Francis (Carol), Anthony (Carol) Young, David Young, her cousin Sister Kathy Salewski, OSF, dear friend Sister Jeanne Bessette, OSF, many nieces and nephews. She will be missed by all her colleagues, friends, students and all those who were touched by her joy and peace during her lifetime.
Sister Mary Jo attended St. Benedict Grade School in Blue Island, Illinois. She is a graduate of St. Francis Academy, Joliet Illinois (1961) received her B.A. from the College of St. Francis (1966) Joliet, Illinois, and earned her M. Ed. with an emphasis in early childhood education (1979) from National College of Education, Evanston, Illinois, and her Ph.D. (1994) from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Her passion and expertise was education, and she taught students as young as Pre-K all the way through the graduate/doctoral level.
Sister began her career as a primary school teacher (1966-1968) at St. Cecilia School, Columbus, Ohio. She continued to teach primary grades in the Catholic schools of Joliet and Romeoville, Illinois (1968-1983) until she became the Director of Preschool (1983-1990) at Dr. King Education Center, Kankakee, Illinois. While she was completing her doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction, she was a teaching assistant at Indiana University (1990-1994) in Bloomington, Indiana. Sister Mary Jo was an Assistant Professor (1994-2001) at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and (2002-2013) Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois. As Assistant Professor, she directed the early childhood program, taught classes and worked with student teachers. She was named Professor Emerita by Elmhurst College in recognition and gratitude for her many years of service there.
Sister Mary Jo worked tirelessly. She served the Congregation (2013-2018) by mentoring new members. She volunteered for many projects and served on various boards and committees related to education, the Girl Scouts and parishes. After retiring, she worked as the director of volunteers at DePaul Cristo Rey High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sister Mary Jo was the longest-serving Trustee to the University of St. Francis, a position that she held for over two decades. In her spare time she enjoyed knitting, reading, baking and traveling.
Visitation for Sister Mary Jo Young will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Dames Funeral Home, 3200 Black Road, Joliet, Illinois, on Thursday, October 5, 2023. There will be a Visitation (9:45 a.m.) before the Mass for Christian Burial, which will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 404 North Hickory St. Joliet, Illinois, on Friday, October 6, 2023. Remembrances and Committal will follow in the Chapel at Resurrection Cemetery, 200 W. Romeo Rd. Romeoville, Illinois, 60446. All are welcome to attend.
If you would like to make a donation in honor of Sister Mary Jo Young or another Joliet Franciscan Sister, please send your memorial to the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, 1433 Essington Road, Joliet, Illinois, 60435, or to an educational charity of your choice.
For more information, please call 815-741-5500, or to leave an online condolence, visit her Memorial Tribute page at www.fredcdames.com.