Mary Jane Mrak was a caring woman who put the needs of others before her own.
“She didn’t like having any attention on herself,” said her daughter Valerie Mrak. “She put everyone else first.”
Mary Jane “Jane” Mrak, 84, of Portage, died Oct. 2. She taught business courses at Portage High School since the 1950s, retiring in 1986. She also owned and managed Mrak’s One-Stop Printing with her husband.
She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Joe Mrak.
Valerie Mrak said while her mother could be reserved, she enjoyed helping her students, especially the ones who were struggling.
“She reached out to help people and always spent extra time with her students,” she said. “She taught classes like typing, shorthand and accounting. She’d stay up until 3 a.m. grading papers. She was extremely dedicated.”
Mrak said since her mother passed away, she has heard from numerous former students about how her mother inspired them.
“Several people said she was the reason they got their first job, or the career skills they needed,” she said. “For someone who didn’t like to be the center of attention, she made a huge contribution to people.”
Every summer the family, which included five children, would take a trip.
“By the time I was 18, I had been to every state in the continental U.S. except California,” she said. “She had a wanderlust, and she instilled in us all a love of travel.”
Valerie Mrak said her mother set her mind to do something and then saw it through.
“I admired her sheer determination,” she said. “Whether it was grading papers or starting the family print shop or taking a three-week trip with five kids, she set a goal and went for it. Nothing stopped her.”