Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Mary Jane Rock

Mary Jane Rock died peacefully October 23, 2019, in Vancouver, Wash., after a brief illness. She was born Mary Jane Worden on June 18, 1925, in Belvidere, Illinois, and loved spending time with her family, square dancing and volunteering. She had a goal of dancing until she reached age 90 and surpassed that by two years, donating her colorful and handmade square dance outfits to several dancers in the Vancouver area. She enjoyed cruising, going in several journeys with friends and even with her entire family to celebrate her 80th birthday.

An accomplished seamstress, along with the rainbow of square dance dresses, shirts and petticoats she crafted, she often made pajamas for family members and created beautiful sought-after quilts. She also crocheted, making afghans and baby blankets. Her two youngest great-grandchildren came home from the hospital in blankets that Mary Jane made especially for them.

After graduating from Belvidere High School in 1943, she worked as a medical assistant. She met Everett Rock, a friend of her brother Bill, and they married in 1944. She and Rocky had three children, Thomas in 1948, Frank in 1950 and Jeannine in 1952. In 1953, the Rocks moved to California, settling first in the San Fernando Valley, then moving to the Santa Clarita Valley, where they raised their family.

During the time she lived in Southern California, she worked at Bob's Big Boy, Eastman Kodak, and Golden State Hospital, then joined the staff at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Sepulveda, working her way up from clerk to Fiscal Research Analyst, retiring from the VA after 25 years.

Volunteering came naturally to her, and over the years, she spent many hours giving her time and talents to Victor Valley Hospital, where she also served as the president of their volunteer auxiliary. When she moved, she became a volunteer at Legacy Hospital in Vancouver. She also danced and loved being involved in square dancing with the New Haulers and Sierra Hillbillies in the SCV, the Thunderbirds in Hesperia and the Buzzin' Bees in Vancouver. Mary Jane also enjoyed cruising and celebrated her 80th birthday at sea with her entire family.

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She divorced Rocky in 1971 and married Joe Riberdy in 1974. Joe and Mary Jane welcomed customers to "Joe's Lounge" a restaurant/bar in downtown Newhall for several years before his death in 1978. She married Marvin Lane in 1983 and they moved from Canyon Country to Hesperia in 1987. After Marvin's passing, Mary Jane and Jeannine moved to Vancouver, Wash., to be closer to family. Mary Jane loved her new home in Washington, although she dearly missed friends in Santa Clarita, Hesperia and Apple Valley.

Having her family around for the holidays was a joy for Mary Jane — many Thanksgivings and Christmases were celebrated in her Hesperia home, and the backyard Easter Egg hunts were legendary. The house on Peach Avenue was often filled with family and friends, and it was then that she was at her happiest. In 2018, the California family traveled north to complete the family gathering for a festive Thanksgiving in the Pacific Northwest.

She is preceded in death by her husbands and brother, Bill Worden; she is survived by her son Thomas (Kibbey) Rock, son Frank (Carol) Rock and daughter Jeannine Rock; daughter-in-law Tif Rock, daughter-in-law Liz (Tom) Hartgrove; grandchildren Justin (Kerstin) Rock, Jeremiah (Rashelle) Gesner, Sarah Rock, Kerry (Colleen) Rock and Casey (Tim) Christianson and great-grandchildren Sophia Rock, Sadie and Wyatt Christianson and Kimber Gesner.

A memorial gathering will be held for Mary Jane on Friday, December 6, at The Marshall House, Officers Row in Vancouver.

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