Mary Jo McGowan Stouffer

mary mcgowan stouffer

Mary Jo Stouffer


Mary Jo Stouffer, 84, of Tucson, Arizona, died Monday, February 22, 2016, at her daughter’s home near Denver, Colorado.

Born January 31, 1932, in Benson, Minnesota, she was the daughter of the late Joseph C. and Mary Donnelly McGowan.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Lyle E. Stouffer, also of Tucson, in 2014.

Mary Jo graduated from Benson High School, class of 1950, and the University of Arizona with a degree in Journalism in 1954.  Following graduation she worked as a reporter with the San Francisco Examiner.  In December, 1955 Mary Jo married Lyle, an Air Force pilot, in Tucson.  This was the beginning of a lifetime partnership that took the couple and their five children to locations around the U.S. and the world.  No matter where the military located the family, Mary Jo was active in in her church and community service, publishing and editing several newsletters and continuing to write for a variety of publications covering a range of topics.  

After a 22-year military career, Lyle retired from the Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1972.  There the family engaged in skiing and camping adventures and more travel.  Her favorite place to visit in Colorado was Winter Park, where family and friends would frequently gather for skiing, endless card games and other activities at the family getaway condo.

It was Mary Jo’s passion for travel that led to opening Academy Travel & Tours in 1982 with her friend and business partner Rosemary Anderson, which operated in Colorado Springs for nearly 15 years.  The travel business allowed Mary Jo and Lyle to visit exotic destinations around the world, often as guides and escorts for their many clients. 

In 1995 the agency was sold, and Mary Jo and Lyle retired to Tucson where she was active the remainder of her life with her beloved parish community of St. Frances Cabrini and its Social Ministry Projects. 

Mary Jo’s spirit and love of life continues through the family she leaves behind including her five children and their spouses; Tim (Jackie) Stouffer of Grand Junction, Colorado, Anne (Douglas) Gray of Salt Lake City, Paul (Susan) Stouffer of Bozeman, Montana, Gregg (Tammy) Stouffer of Denver, Katy (Joseph) Adams of Denver; 17 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband Lyle, Mary Jo was preceded in death by one sister, Patricia M. Bayly; and one brother, William J. McGowan who was killed on D-Day, 1944 in Normandy, France.

A celebration of Mary Jo’s life will be held at St. Frances Cabrini Roman Catholic Church, 3201 East Presidio Road in Tucson on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 11:00 am with a reception to follow. 

Donations may be made in Mary Jo’s name to St. Frances Cabrini Social Ministry Projects or St. Frances Cabrini’s Justo Coffee Cooperative. 

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