Mary Jane McIlvain. 86-year-old retired Woodward teacher, died Thursday, Nov. 3, 2005 in Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. Monday Nov. 7, 2005 in the First Christian Church with Dr. Kipp Wolfe officiating. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall. Arrangements are under the direction of the Billings Funeral Home.

Mary Jane (Covey) McIlvain was born in Oklahoma City, Okla. on June 10, 1919 to Rev. Carl and Ica Cheney Covey. At the age of three, she moved with her parents to Enid where her parents attended Phillips University for six years. During her youth, her father pastored churches in Elk City and Duncan, where she graduated from High School in 1936. She attended Phillips University, graduating in 1940 with a degree in Elementary Education. In September of 1940, she came to Woodward to begin her teaching career, where she taught music and art in the 5th and 6th grades. This was the beginning of a life-long love affair with 10, 11, and 12 year olds. On March 1, 1941, she was married in Shawnee, Okla. to Pat McIlvain. Pat had just graduated from Colorado State University and was employed at the U. S. Agricultural Research Station. This marriage was blessed by two children, Ruthie and Mike. They in turn blessed Pat and Mary Jane with five grandsons and one granddaughter. Except for four years during World War II when Pat served in the U. S. Army, and a year spent at Utah State University, where Pat did graduate work, they lived in Woodward. During those years, Mary Jane was a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and a participant in church, school and community activities. She was blessed with opportunities to travel and see the beauties of the world. A favorite pleasure was her writing, putting her views of the world in written form.

Mary Jane said many times, and meant it, she had been blessed beyond measure. Her parents, who loved her and provided a good education- a loving husband and children, who supported and encouraged her- grandchildren, who brought a special joy-- a profession she loved-- a church, that added an extra depth to her life-- and by many wonderful friendsˆWho could ask for more?

Her activities were wide and varied. Her teaching career spanned 40 years, with 30 years in the classroom teaching 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grades. She also served as a vice-principal for four years. In 1968, she was chosen as Woodward County Teacher of the Year. Living in Woodward for 65 years, she participated in many organizations, Oklahoma Retired Teachers, Oklahoma Cattle Women, Delta Kappa Gamma, Gamma Sorosis and Beta Sorosis. She was a volunteer for "Reach for Recovery" and was a charter member of the Woodward Educational Foundation. She loved her church, First Christian, and taught all ages at one time or another. She directed Vacation Church School, served on many committees, CWF, taught a Wednesday Morning Study Group and served as an elder for many years.

Mary Jane is survived by her husband of 64 years, Pat; her daughter, Ruth Leierer; her son Mike McIlvain and his wife, Patsy; six grandchildren, Chuck Leierer and wife Melissa and their two children Christian and Hanna, Darci Leierer, Tim Leierer, Joe McIlvain and wife Stacy and their daughter Hadley Jo, J. P. McIlvain and Jonathan McIlvain; her sister and husband, Betty and Jim Goodness; her life was blessed by many friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Memorials may be made to the First Christian in Woodward or the Woodward Educational Foundation with the funeral home as custodian of the fund.

Remembrances may be made online at

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