Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Mary Jo Scoggins Lee, 74

WILMINGTON — Mary Jo Scoggins Lee died peacefully on January 19, 2024, at Trinity Grove Skilled Nursing in Wilmington, North Carolina. Mary Jo was born on March 30, 1949, in Raleigh, North Carolina and was raised in Morrisville. She was stationed in San Diego and other locations before settling in the Triangle area.  

Jo had a lot of names and wore a lot of hats. Jo, Mom, Nana, Mary, Josie, Aunt Jo, Sargeant, Mrs. Lee, Mama-Jo, Boss Lady, and more. In the 80’s, she shared a very vivid dream of her future funeral. In it, there were hats representing her different roles in life. Her Marine Corps cap, her nurses cap, her fun driving hat, and more.  
Mary Jo graduated from the recently integrated Cary High School while working for the Tastee Freeze on Hillsborough Road in Raleigh and driving a school bus. Following graduation, she joined the United States Marine Corps which became a source of pride, education, and a beloved introduction to wider cultural opportunities including Mexican and Asian cuisines, her first opera and ballet performances, and the meritocracy of service. She thrived in electronics school. She met & married Ray Taiclet, and she was devastated to lose him too young. Her continued relationship with this Pittsburgh-based family was a source of inspiration and love for Mary Jo.  

Josie married the charming Clifford Hashimoto and left the Marine Corps with an honorable discharge for pregnancy in 1970. The Hashimoto ohana likewise embraced Josie. Auntie Lani taught her how to cook and love Asian dishes, and Josie kept her own rice maker and ensured her girls, Lani and Lisa received one when they moved away. Clifford’s sons Clifford and John joined the family home in Morrisville in the 70’s. Mary stayed in loving connection with both of her sons and grandsons, and she instilled her value of family to all her kids which they continue to cherish.

Back home for good in 1973, Jo worked as a dental assistant and has prioritized dental hygiene for all her kids & grandkids. After her divorce from Clifford, she joined the US Army Reserves and was successful in recruiting. She later worked for Xerox. She began pursuing a lifetime dream of nursing school, but left it to work at IBM to support her children.   

Jo and Don were introduced by The Howland Avenue crew and married in 1980. They had single parenting, IBM, intelligence, and a love of family and friends in common. Don’s son, James Ray, and Jo developed rapport, trust, and eventually love that remains. Jim’s family including his mom, wife, and children shared holidays, crafts, work projects, and endless hugs. Together, Jo & Don worked on endless projects improving their home, friends’ homes, the kids’ homes, gardened, cared for aging family, and remained utterly committed to one another. Don developed lung cancer and passed away at home in Jo’s care in 2019.  

As Jo experienced dementia-related time travel, she kept Don, the kids, and the grandchildren close to her. She retained her verbal and intellectual capacities even while losing her drive. Her love of music persisted, and Nana enjoyed visits from her kids and grandkids. Her pride in her family was a constant. Jo had the support of hospice since April 2023.  

A remembrance honoring Jo will take place in the spring surrounded by the flowers, trees, and lawn that brought her immense joy. 

Special thanks are extended to Trinity Grove of Wilmington and Amedisys Hospice of Bolivia for their support and care.

Related Articles