Mary Jo Torczon (nee Berg), age 89, of Houston, Texas, died peacefully on August 1, 2022. She finally folded her cards and went home. Mary Jo was the matriarch of a large extended family. She was a caring mother, sister, aunt, and grandmother. She was a great cook and an ardent bridge player.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Village of Tanglewood on Saturday August 6 from 1PM to 3PM in Houston, Texas. Visitation will take place in Amarillo, Texas at Schooler Funeral Home, 4100 S. Georgia on Monday, August 8, 2022 from 6pm to 8pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Church , 5005 Klinke Rd in Amarillo, Texas on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 10 am with Rev. Jose Ricardo Zanetti officiating.
Mary Jo was born on the dining room table at Sunshine Ranch on March 15, 1933. She held leadership positions at St. Mary’s Academy in Amarillo and at Loretto College in Denver. She was active in her church, in 4-H, and in the Farmers Union. She was “Queen” of more events than space allows us to list, president of her class at St. Mary’s several times, and active on the debate team. Over a period of seven summers, she served in a variety of roles at Farmers Union camps, which took her to most of the states west of the Mississippi.
While at Loretto Heights College, Mary Jo dated Richard Lee Torczon. They were married on Sept. 5, 1955, shortly after she graduated. They had five children. In their years together, they lived in Denver, CO; Omaha, NE; Houston, TX; Stamford, CT; and London, England. They travelled extensively in the United States and visited more than 15 foreign countries. She also worked as a real estate agent in Omaha and had a successful career in personnel placement with the M. David Lowe Personnel Services in Houston.
Mary Jo’s life was driven by three passions: family, bridge, and entertaining.
Mary Jo was a fierce mother, aunt, and grandmother. When her children were young, she stayed home to care for them. She remained an active force in all their lives until her final days. She texted and video-conferenced with her children and grandchildren daily.
Mary Jo loved a party. She thrived on family dinners; Thanksgiving routinely included thirty to fifty guests. She was an outstanding cook; she took classes at the Cordon Bleu School in London. She immersed herself in the details of food, decoration, and guests for a party.
Mary Jo was a Ruby Life Master at bridge. She played three to five times per week and could recall in detail the flow of each game. For years, she served as director of a large weekly duplicate bridge club. She regularly regaled her family with reports of the day’s card play.
Mary Jo is survived by her six younger siblings: Norma Brown of Houston, TX, Ruth Berg of Houston, TX, Doris Smith of Panhandle, TX, , Patty Dingle of Atoka, OK, Sherlyn Morrisette of Lyndonville, VT, and Joe Berg of Arlington, VA. She leaves behind five children, their spouses, and her eight grandchildren: Virginia Torczon and Michael Lewis of Williamsburg, VA; Linda Torczon and Keith Cooper of Houston, TX, and their daughters Christine and Carolyn; Donna Torczon and David Geerinck of Clinton, NJ, and their son Joshua; Richard Torczon, Jr. and Andrea Torczon of East Falls Church, VA, and their children Benjamin, Jethro, and Cassia; and Todd Torczon and Maureen Johnson of Bend OR, and their sons Mitchell and Owen. She also leaves behind a collection of grand dogs and great-grand dogs, each of whom she loved. Her entire extended family will miss her terribly.
Mary Jo directed that, in lieu of flowers, her friends and family consider a donation to the Torczon Scholarship Funds at either Rice University (http://giving.rice.edu or 713 348 5804) or the University of Saint Thomas (http://stthom.edu/Giving or 713 525 3100). In either case, specify the Torczon Scholarship Fund in the “Special Instructions”.