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313 Center St.
Phone: 419-281-2566, 1-800-430-2566
Fax: 419-281-4411
Mary Jane Keys
In Memory of
Mary Jane
1927 - 2018
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Denbow Gasche Funeral Home and Crematory
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Obituary for Mary Jane Keys

Mary Jane  Keys
Mary Jane Keys, 90

Mary Jane Keys, 90, of Ashland, passed away peacefully Saturday morning, September 8, 2018 at Lutheran Village of Ashland.

Mary Jane was born on December 3, 1927 in Youngstown, Ohio to Tyrell and Nell Robinson. Raised in Youngstown alongside her younger brother, David, she graduated from South High School in 1945 with a passion for music and mathematics.

She went on to attend Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1949. While at Ohio University, she was the President of her Phi Mu Sorority, played on the girls’ basketball team (when forwards could only go half court), and was a member of the Ohio University marching band. It was in the percussion section of the band that she met her future husband.

Mary Jane’s dream job was to become a statistician for the Cleveland Indians; however, in those days, women could only be teachers, nurses or secretaries. So, instead of working in the “Big Show,” she taught algebra in Girard, Ohio until marrying Robert Keys on October 9, 1950.

Mary Jane and Bob moved to Lima, Ohio where they began a family in 1953 with the birth of their first child, Randy, followed by Gary in 1955 and Robin in 1957. Shortly after Robin’s birth, the family moved to Cleveland where their youngest son, Dennis, was born in 1958. The Keys family moved to Ashland, Ohio in 1960 where Mary Jane lived out the remainder of her life.

Highlights from her life in Ashland include watching her children grow up and participating in their activities: little league baseball (where she was always the team’s scorekeeper), Boy Scouts, band, choir, Sweet Sixteen, basketball games, football half-time shows, parades, etc. Her love of music was a passion of Mary Jane’s throughout her life and she especially enjoyed the high school musicals and May Fiesta.

A big part of her life were sports. Oh, how she loved her Ohio State Buckeyes, the Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Browns. She considered Bernie Kosar family since he came from a town near where she grew up and was a member of the Browns Backers until the team moved to Baltimore in 1995. She was crushed.

You could find Mary Jane at the King Lanes Bowling Alley most Monday nights knocking down the pins. Consistently carrying a high bowling average, Mary Jane was very proud of the numerous league awards she received throughout the years. She also enjoyed a good game of bridge and loved getting together with fellow card players.

In 1993, Mary Jane retired from the Ashland Municipal Court as Chief Deputy Clerk in charge of accounting, then returned in 1994 as a part-time Clerk of Courts. She retired from that position in 2007 after a total of 21 years of service. She had been formerly employed by Polar Foods and Ashland City Schools as a substitute teacher.

She was a life-long member of The Presbyterian Church where she sang in the choir and played piano for the children’s Sunday school classes for many years.

Mary Jane is survived by her three children and their families: Randy & Cindy Keys of Hilliard, Ohio, Robin & Dusty Stafford of Peachtree Corners, Georgia and Dennis & Linda Keys of Ashland, Ohio. Grandson Kyle & Kimberly Vanetta and great-grandchildren Kendall and Chase Vanetta of Johns Creek, Georgia. She is also survived by her brother and his wife David & Eleanor Robinson of Tucson, Arizona.

Along with her parents, Mary Jane was preceded in death by an infant son, Gary Keys, and a brother, Jackie Robinson.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, September 15, 2018, at 11:30 a.m. at the Denbow-Gasche Funeral Home, 313 Center Street, Ashland, Ohio with Dr. JoAnn Ford Watson officiating. A meal and time of fellowship will follow the service in the Legacy Room of the funeral home. Interment will be in the Petersburg Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family on Friday, September 14, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

The family would also like to thank the staff of Lutheran Village of Ashland for their compassionate care and kindness over the last four years.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 320 Church Street, Ashland, Ohio 44805.

For those who may not be able to attend, online condolences may be shared on the funeral home’s website at

Denbow-Gasche Funeral Home & Crematory is handling the arrangements.

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