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Mary Jane Samberg Barrett

April 4, 2020
Mary Jane Samberg Barrett
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Obituary for Mary Jane Samberg Barrett

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Regis Catholic Church, 3695 Lincoln (at Lahser), Bloomfield Hills, Friday, October 23, at 10am.

Mary Jane Samberg Barrett (née McDonald) died April 4, 2020 at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac at the age of 55. Mary Jane was born in Detroit in 1965 to Joan Baker (deceased) and Thomas Joseph McDonald (deceased). She was the youngest of five McDonald siblings, Michael (Ann), Thomas (deceased), Sharon, and Patrick, and was raised in a household with her mother and step-father William J. Pulte (deceased) and her nine Pulte step-siblings, Bryan, Mary Jo (Pam), Nancy (Kevin), Tom (Molly), Katie (Tim), Bob (Mary Clare), Mark (Julie), Suzie, and Carolyn. She was also step-daughter to Mary Jane McDonald and step-sister to six Gargaro siblings, Debbie (Mark), Kathy (Mark), Michelle (Bill), Bobby (Carol), Janie (Tim), and Chrissy (Dan).

Mary Jane attended St. Regis Catholic grade school in Bloomfield Hills, and graduated from Marian High School in 1983. She created lifelong relationships with her classmates from St. Regis and Marian, and counted them among her most cherished friends. She earned a degree in English from Michigan State University and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Education from Marygrove College. Mary Jane then returned to her alma mater to teach English and Journalism at Marian for 15 years; she also taught at St. Catherine in Wixom and Shrine Academy in Royal Oak. Mary Jane was entirely dedicated to her students, their success, and their faith formation in Catholic education.

She retired from teaching in 2016, and spent her time in retirement supporting her favorite causes. She was an active life-long parishioner of both St. Regis Parish of Bloomfield Hills and Sacred Heart Parish of Cheboygan. She was a member of the Detroit Institute of Arts Women’s Committee, and an active supporter of the Michigan Animal Rescue League, Mother and Unborn Baby Care, and Detroit Cristo Rey High School.

Mary Jane married Michael Samberg in 1987 and together they were blessed with their daughter, Dr. Margaret “Meg” Samberg. Mary Jane remained close with Dr. Carl and Barbara (deceased) Samberg and the entire Samberg family throughout her life. Mary Jane found the love of her life in 2015 when she reconnected with her high school sweetheart, Dave Barrett. Their rekindled romance inspired many, and the two married in 2016 amongst family and friends. The pair cherished each moment together, and although they reunited late in life, their marriage was a true example of living out one’s marriage vows.

Mary Jane was a woman of deep faith and lived her life according to what she dubbed her “Top Five”. This included, in order, God, Family, Friends, Education, and Mullett Lake. Her favorite childhood memories surrounded time at the lake with a “baseball team sized” group of siblings and cousins, as well as numerous beloved friends belonging to many generations of Mullett Lake families. She took great pride in caring for the family cottage. She loved tending to her mother’s garden at the Manor House, and sprucing up her newest project, The B-Hive. She loved afternoon boat rides in her 1952 Chris Craft Holiday, the Joanie Marie, which she and her brother Tommy painstakingly restored. Mary Jane served as the Mullett Lake Country Club’s second female president in its hundred-year history. She was also an avid and talented golfer, and was a seven-time MLCC Women’s Club Champion. Mary Jane’s passion for animals was evident by the numerous dogs she found wonderful homes for, including rescues Chester and Brady, and Labradors Phoebe and Linus.

She is survived by her loving husband, David Barrett Jr, her siblings, and her children Margaret Samberg, Nicole and Rebecca Hart, and her step-sons James and Thomas Barrett. She is also survived by her dearest aunts Mary Lou Bartley Gonne, Margaret Kelly, and Tlanda McDonald, as well as her 13 cousins and their families. She is preceded in death by her grandparents, including her beloved “Grandma Mac”, her parents, her dear Uncle Jim McDonald, and her brother, Tommy Mac.

Please understand the authors did their best to honor Mary Jane’s love of grammar and flare for language in this obituary; especially in light of her treasured relationships with so many in a complicated, extended, and blended family. Regardless of this effort, Mary Jane would have likely given this essay a B- at best.

A private burial will be held with immediate family only at the cemetery of Sacred Heart Church in Cheboygan in keeping with the restrictions in place at this time for the health and safety of our community.

If loved ones wish to make memorial donations, Mary Jane has asked that they go to: the Detroit Institute of Arts, Mother and Unborn Baby Care of Southfield, Detroit Cristo Rey High School, or the parishes of St. Regis and Sacred Heart.


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