Richard and Mary Jane Bloom’s love story began in 1969 when they met at the Sheffield Lake United Church of Christ. They married a year later and remained sweethearts until his death in 2021. They vowed to delay one’s memorial service until the other passed so that loved ones could celebrate their reunion. Their family was blessed by their unconditional love and guidance through the years. Sadness at losing them is tempered by the vision of them laughing, singing and dancing together again. Fly with the angels, Lovebirds! A reunion celebration will Bloom this spring.
MARY JANE (Rahn) (Lloyd) BLOOM received her angel wings on January 4, 2023 at age 99. Mary Jane graduated from Brookside High School and married a few years later. She volunteered at the Sheffield Lake United Church of Christ, Sheffield/Sheffield Lake Public Schools and Avon Lake Chapter of the Eastern Star for 18 years while raising two daughters.
In 1966, Mary Jane began working for the Easter Seal Society in Elyria. Her job was raising money to serve children with disabilities, and she did it with a passion. She surveyed the Lorain County area and found children with disabilities sitting at home watching the world go by (before laws mandated education for all). She reached out to the children by planning recreational events. This was often their first chance to meet other children with disabilities.
Mary Jane soon earned the title of Executive Director of the Lorain County Easter Seal Society. She recruited volunteers to serve people with disabilities of all ages. She spoke to churches, clubs, and organizations to raise money and awareness. One group donated a wheelchair-accessible van. Others bought camperships and medical equipment.
As the agency grew, Mary Jane had help from staff, board members and volunteers. She worked with other agencies to insure life-spanning services. She budgeted donations to hire therapists, fund speech clinics, transport clients, provide respite care, purchase hospital equipment for loan to anyone with medical needs, and organize support groups. Services expanded to include Huron County.
Mary Jane wrote the book From Tragedy to Triumph: A History of the Easter Seal Society. She was named 1973 Woman of Achievement by the Elyria Quota Club; Lorain Journal’s Good Citizen in April 1975; Ohio Executive of the Year by Ohio Easter Seal Society in 1976; the 1983 Woman of Achievement by Lorain Zonta Club; and a lifetime honorary membership in the Ohio Speech and Hearing Association.
When she retired in 1987, the County Commissioners proclaimed Mary Jane Bloom Day. Her official commendation from the Ohio House of Representatives stated, “We commend you for your outstanding services to humankind and salute you as one of Ohio’s finest citizens.” Local newspapers detailed her achievements: “This is one Bloom that’s a beauty.”
Mary Jane initially worked in a rented garage with an annual budget of $2,000 to serve 200 children with disabilities. She ended her career serving 5,000 people of all ages on a budget of $250,000. Plus, the Easter Seal Society of Lorain and Huron Counties owned its own building and was debt-free. Upon retirement she became a professional storyteller who told tales in schools, churches, nursing homes, cruise ships. She also taught storytelling to give children an incentive to read, and to help them overcome fear of public speaking.
Mary Jane is survived by her brother Charles (Margaret) Rahn; daughters Carol Price, Indialantic FL and Barbara (Dan) Nelson, Wauseon OH; 12 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren and many dear nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Richard, sister Virginia Manwell, niece Susan Suppes, nephew William Manwell, granddaughter Kaitlin Nelson, and son-in-law Russell Price. Mary Jane resided at the Elizabeth Scott Community where she was blessed to find a best friend in her roommate Pat Galow and receive top-notch care from compassionate staff.
RICHARD W. BLOOM passed from this life on September 7, 2021 at the age of 97. Devotion to God, his family, his country, and his fellow man was the cornerstone of his life. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great/great-great grandfather, uncle and faithful friend.
Richard was a decorated World War II veteran who proudly served the U.S. Army in five campaigns, including Battle of the Bulge, Normandy, and Remagen Bridge. He was awarded the Bronze Star, a Presidential Unit Citation, and the Croix de Guerre Unit Citation from Belgium.
As a sales representative for Schubert Industries, Richard traveled throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York turning customers into friends. Upon retirement he and Mary Jane traveled the world, wintering in Florida for 25 years. He was a member of First Congregational Church in Lorain, OH and Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Palm Bay, FL. He volunteered at Our Daily Bread, a food center for homeless individuals in Palm Bay and at the Easter Seal Society in Elyria, OH.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, his seven siblings, his first wife Jean, daughter Margaret Cole, and granddaughters Ashley Merry, Jennifer Frisch, Jean Henkel. Survivors include daughter Susan Howell - Elyria OH, 4 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, 5 great-great grandchildren plus many nieces and nephews.
Richard was a force for good who gave much and took little. He was respected by those who met him and cherished by all who knew him. Richard’s family wishes him a peaceful journey. We thank him for providing the shining example of a life well lived, and vow to continue his legacy of love so his story will never end.
Richard said the best way to honor his memory is to perform random acts of kindness.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests honoring Richard & Mary Jane with a memorial donation to: Activities Department at Elizabeth Scott Community, 2620 Albon Road, Maumee, OH 43537; or Sheffield Lake United Church of Christ, 603 Sunset Ave., Sheffield Lake, OH 44054
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard & Mary Jane Bloom, please visit our floral store.
Activities Department at Elizabeth Scott Community
2620 Albon Road, Maumee OH 43537
Sheffield Lake United Church of Christ
603 Sunset Ave., Sheffield Lake OH 44054