Mary Jane Wichita, homemaker, dies

She was an artist and reporter

March 20, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Mary Jane Wichita, a homemaker and former reporter who loved birds and painting, died March 12 of cancer at the Sunrise assisted-living facility in Severna Park. She was 86.

The daughter of an engineer and an accountant, Mary Jane Bein was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, where she graduated in 1942 from Our Lady of Victory High School.

She attended Our Lady of Victory College, also in Fort Worth. From 1942 to 1944, she was an engineering draftsman for Consolidated Aircraft Co.

In 1944, she married Walter L. Wichita, a career Air Force officer, and during his 30-year career, they lived on both coasts, as well as in the Midwest and Japan.

When he retired, the couple moved to Towson, where Mrs. Wichita was a reporter for The Towson Times and did public relations for Towson Catholic High School.

They moved to Shore Acres in Anne Arundel County in 1977, where they lived until moving to Sunrise two years ago.

Mrs. Wichita, who was a poodle fancier, also enjoyed feeding the seagulls and ducks twice a day that visited her Shore Acres yard.

An accomplished artist and lapidary, she enjoyed painting nature scenes and making jewelry from stones she had collected with her grandchildren.

She was a boater and liked crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay. She composed music, played the piano and was a stamp collector.

She had been active in Democratic Party politics from the early days of her life and remained so until recent years.

"Family meant everything to her and was the joy of her life," said a daughter, Kathleen Noppinger of Cockeysville. "She was known by her grandchildren as 'Granny Jane' and was dearly loved by all of them."

She was an active communicant of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Severna Park, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered Thursday.

Also surviving are her husband of 66 years; a son, Michael J. Wichita Sr. of Catonsville; another daughter, Maureen Rogers of Laurel; her sister, Patricia Millberger of Tulsa; and seven grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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