Posted On April 30th, 2011 -


Died April 6, 2011 at her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. She lived a life full of adventure and learning and died peacefully at the age of 84 with her family nearby.

Mary Jane was born on November 15, 1926 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and adopted at the age of 2 by William and Josephine Rankin. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Central State Teachers College in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Wisconsin.

In 1968 Mary Jane moved with her family to Hawaii, where she lived for the next 25 years. She worked as a legislative aide for Hawaii state representatives Lisa Naito and Jack Larsen. Following her tenure at the state legislature, she worked for the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, eventually attaining the position of Vice President for Public Relations. She was also active with the Honolulu Community Theatre.

Mary Jane is survived by her daughter Jessica Van Buren; daughter Cassandra Van Buren and her husband Keith Cormier; and her granddaughters Emma and Austen Van Burns, all of Salt Lake City. She was preceded in death by her dear friend Bob Hemphill.

No service will be held. Please consider a donation to the Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center, The Road Home, Habitat for Humanity, or Best Friends Animal Society in her memory.

- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran