Mary Jane (Smila) Longanecker passed away Friday, July 4, 2014. Beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Mary was born Nov. 6, 1935, in Tiffin, the daughter of Paul and Cora Smila and dear sister to Leona Smila Herr of Altamonte Springs, Florida.
A review of her Bettsville High School career revealed the history of a leader and good steward. Her peers honored her by electing her to serve the senior class as vice president. Mary also served as newspaper editor/yearbook staff and excelled in debate, drama, chorus, GAA and Honor Society, ultimately earning the distinction of Valedictorian, Class of 1953.
She attended Bowling Green State University, where she studied fine arts and secondary education. Later, Mary met the love of her life, Leonard H. Longanecker of Carey, and they married Oct. 1, 1955. They moved to Port Clinton and worked together at Erie Ordinance (and he later at NASA, Sandusky) while raising their five children.
In the 1970s, Mary worked with the scientific community for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Ann Arbor, Michigan. Traveling and camping across the U.S. was a favorite pastime, where so many wonderful memories were created.
In the 1980s, Mary and Leonard built their dream home and later retired to Titusville, Florida, where they enjoyed the Space Coast Florida lifestyle.
Much can be said about our mother's kind heart, especially how she engaged her extended family and friends, never missing an opportunity to acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. She dearly loved her nieces and nephews and all their children.
Mary was a wonderful mother with a good sense of humor, a great cook, a valued administrative assistant and a creative and talented artist. She was truly beautiful inside and out, selfless, modest and a lady in every sense of the word.
She was lovely and loved, gracious and gentle, caring and compassionate. Always giving, Mary valued education and made certain each of her children received a university degree. She also instructed her children and grandchildren in all academic subjects, including sewing and Bible study. As a devout Christian, she led an active life in the church, as First and Second Reader, organist and Sunday school teacher.
She is survived by her husband, Leonard; five children, Debra Miles of Titusville, Florida, Jo Ann of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Jill Wiedman of Miami, Florida, Scott of Titusville and T.J. of Orlando; grandchildren, Michiko (Jayson) Miles of Orlando, Jessica Miles (John) Conner and their two sons, Cole and Grant, of Winter Park, Florida, Kyra and Luke Wiedman, both of Miami, Florida, Madison and Kenzie, both of Sanford, Florida, and Lexi of Tennessee; one great-grandchild, Desmond Gaius Miles-Hodges of Orlando; and two nephews, Mike (Terry) Herr of Jupiter, Florida, and the Honorable Mark (Andria) Herr and their two sons, Jonathan and Dennis, of Lake Mary, Florida; sister-in-law, Arlene Tiell of Upper Sandusky; and nieces and nephews, Ruth Malloy, Janet (Denny) Zoeller (daughter Shelly and grandson Izak) and Karen (Michael) Bonham, all of Upper Sandusky, Donna (Don) Welly of Whispering Pines, North Carolina, Christine (Wayne) Posey of Bascom, Carol (Deb) Tiell of Marion and Jerry and Karen Steinle and family, all of Titusville, Florida.
Her dear friends include Laura, Michael and Christine Jacobs, all of Titusville; Bette Hooker of Maitland; friends from Ohio and Florida include the Bredbeck, Devene, Engle, Ewing, Gall, Heck, Hooker, Hunter, Huston, Shaffer, Suber, Shuman, Sisson, Sweening, Wiedman, Yingling and Welly families; George and Diane Rivers; Bob Billock; Joann McDowell; Helen Baker; Bill and Gary Robbins; Mary Nickel; Richard and Dorothy Walker of Port Clinton; Carol and Robert Walters; Marianne Martin of Ann Arbor, Michigan; plus other loved ones and church friends; and constant companion, Trixie, a long-haired Chihuahua, among other furry canine friends, Audie, Coco, Lucy, Vata and Dexter.
Mary was greatly loved and will be missed more than words can say.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother-in-law Edward Herr; and nephew Ronald W. Tiell.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cocoa, Florida, the SPCA of Titusville, Brevard Aiding Shelter Animals Project or Central Humane Society, Cocoa, Florida.