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Obituary for Mary Jane Aklonis (Carroll)

Mary Jane Aklonis, 72, of Lambertville, New Jersey, died at her home on Monday, April 23, 2018.

Born in Philadelphia, Mary Jane lived in Westfield, NJ and Manayunk, PA before moving to Lambertville 24 years ago. She was a special education teacher at Lawrence High School for 14 years before retiring 12 years ago. Previously she worked at Elizabeth High School where she taught history, English, psychology and special education. She also served as the a school drug counselor. A dedicated educator, Mary Jane took pride in her students and shared in the joy of her students’ achievements. She earned her undergraduate degree in social studies from Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) and her master’s degree in special education from Kean University.

Mary Jane loved the written word. She was an avid reader and a gifted writer, who wrote numerous poems, short stories and plays. At the time of her passing, her first novel “Lace Curtain Lives” was undergoing its final edit. Mary Jane constantly strove to enhance her writing skills. She participated in James Rahn’s writers’ group in Rittenhouse Square, Don Swaim’s writers’ group, the Bucks County Writers’ Group and the Lawrenceville Writers’ Group. She participated in poetry workshops at NYU with William M. Packard and at the New School and studied playwriting at the HB Studio in Greenwich Village. Her poetry has been published in New York Quarterly Magazine.

Active in her community Mary Jane served on the boards of the Lambertville Historical Society and the Kalmia Club. She was a past chair of the fundraisers, the historical society’s annual house tour and the Kalmia’s Hidden Gardens of Lambertville tour.

She shared her love of literature, art and community with her devoted husband Raymond John Aklonis. Mary Jane and Ray loved travel and hosting friends and family in their home. She is also survived by her children Jennifer Luerssen and her husband Andrew Tavis of Fanwood, NJ and James Luerssen and his wife Jamie of Manassas, Virginia; her grandchildren Margaret Tavis and Andrew Luerssen and her sister-in-law Rose Mary Carroll of Annandale, NJ. She was predeceased by her parents the late Francis V. Carrol and Margaret Mary Donnelly Carroll and her brother the late Edward Carroll.

A service of remembrance will be held on Friday, April 27, at 11 am at the Van Horn-McDonough Funeral Home, 21 York Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530 (

There will be visitation Friday morning from 10 am until the start of services.

Donations in Mary Jane’s memory may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (, Grand Central Station, PO Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777 or to the Parkinson Alliance of Princeton (, PO Box 308, Kingston, NJ 08528-0308.

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