Mary Ellen Bova, 96, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 31st, with her son and daughter by her side. She was born in Columbus, Ohio to Ralph J. and Josephine Reynolds. Mary spent the early part of her life in Louisville, Kentucky, graduated from Sacred Heart Academy and Ursuline College where she attended on a full scholarship.
Mary absolutely loved reading…by 5th grade, she had read all the books in her grammar school’s library, so her teachers took her to the high school library in order to satisfy her love of books and learning.
She met our dad, Joseph R. Bova, at a USO dance while he was stationed at Fort Knox for Army basic training. After WWII, they got married and moved to Long Branch and had a happy marriage for 67 years. Mary, an only child, married into a large, loud, loving Italian family and found her home.
Mary began her teaching career in Louisville and continued at the Broadway School in Long Branch, eventually becoming the librarian at Wolf Hill and Maple Place Schools in Oceanport.
For those students who experienced her story telling, she was an inspiration, and for those who experienced her unique style of discipline (she preferred a book to the head or a high-heeled shoe ground into the top of the offender’s foot over a trip to the principal’s office), she was deemed fair.
Mary retired in 1987 at the age of 63 and remained active, volunteering at various places including Congressman Frank Pallone’s office, the library at the Betty McElmon School and as a poll worker in Oceanport. She was a member of the Oceanport Democratic Club, the Oceanport Senior Citizens, Shrewsbury First Assembly of God and Searchlight Church.
Mary was pre-deceased by her loving husband, Joe and her half-sister Valerie Smith. She is survived by her daughters Monica Nelson (Bill) of Louisville, KY, Bella Bova and son Jim Bova (Sandy), all of Oceanport. Also surviving are grandsons Joshua Bova (Jana) and Andrew Bova (Deirdre), all of Oceanport and Garfield Nelson (Catie) and Morgan Nelson (Hollie), all of Louisville, KY, and eight great-grandchildren.
Mary was a wonderful wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmom and friend to many. Her curiosity knew no end. She lived a full and good life and instilled in her family an appreciation for books, music, nature, humor and people and a love of God. Her favorite saying was “Blah! All will be well!”
The loving care given by our parents to all that knew them was returned to them in the form of Evelyn, their caregiver, who lovingly and faithfully tended to them ’till the end. We will always be grateful and she will always be our family.
To honor Mary’s memory, we would ask that you love your neighbor as yourself and read to your children. Services will be private. A celebration of her life will take place at a later date. Letters of condolence may be sent through the Tribute/Guestbook link above.
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