MARY M. SHUSTED
Mary McCrystle Shusted, 89, passed away peacefully on April 18, 2020 in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Mary was a longtime resident of Haddonfield where, for many decades, she was active in community affairs, was a vibrant asset to her husband Tom’s many political campaigns, relished her successful career in residential real estate, and raised her large and grateful family. Her older sister Eleanor McCrystle Stimac, who also passed away just a few weeks ago, was always mesmerized by Mary’s significant people skills, having often said: “That girl could really work a room!”
Mary was born in Haddon Township, New Jersey, on August 15, 1930. She attended Collingswood High School, where one of her classmates was the future Hollywood star Michael Landon. After high school, Mary immediately began working at the RCA headquarters in Camden. She soon met her future husband, Thomas J. Shusted, at the Oaklyn Dancette in Oaklyn, NJ and they were married in February of 1954. While raising her five children, Mary still found time to pursue her studies at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), from which she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1981. The couple enjoyed 50 years of marriage together, until Tom’s passing in March of 2004.
Over the years, Mary was the backbone of Tom’s political career, which began when he was appointed the first full time Camden County Prosecutor, and continued through to his many years of civic service as Director of the Camden County Board of Freeholders and later as a member of the New Jersey State Assembly. The well known rumor (not verified but believed by many) was that Tom never lost a campaign in large part because Mary was always at his side as his most visible and most vocal supporter.
As Mary and Tom were raising their family, one of their favorite family activities was traveling the U.S. to tour the nation’s great National Parks. Over the course of ten years or so, the family of seven managed to visit Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and several other park destinations. The family also spent many summer vacations at the Seabrook Island Resort near Charleston, South Carolina. Mary’s constant message to her children was “Make sure you get out and experience life, be active!”
Mary was actively involved in her children’s schools and PTAs, served on the Haddonfield Planning Board, and frequently volunteered at Contact, a mental health hotline. After raising her children, she embarked on a successful real estate career, spanning more than 20 years, and eventually retired from Lenny Vermaat & Leonard in Haddonfield at the age of 79. Mary was an avid competitive bridge player, enjoyed golf and tennis, and was a longtime member of the Tavistock Country Club.
Mary was very proud of her Irish heritage. During a trip to Ireland many years ago, she and Tom found themselves in need of directions from a local resident. Rather than just pointing them in the right direction, the resident said: “Let me walk you there myself!” Reflecting on this experience, Mary believed that the friendly reaction of their Irish acquaintance was a clear indication of how she herself was influenced by her heritage. “No wonder I have such a love of meeting new people and enjoying their company,” she once said, “I’m Irish!”
Mary died peacefully at Brandywine Senior Living in Haddonfield. She was the wife of the late Thomas J. Shusted and the beloved mother of Thomas J., Jr. (Rita) of Cherry Hill, NJ, Mark J. (Noel) of Roseville, CA, John P. (Sandra) of Newtown Square, PA, Anne S. Barker (William) of St. Davids, PA and Erik C. (Rory) of Johns Creek, GA. She was the loving grandmother of 11 (Paul, James, Garrett, Ryan, Christine, Caroline, Sam, Kiera, Cole, Thomas and Luke), and the sister of the late Eleanor Stimac. For the past 14 years, Mary thoroughly enjoyed the company of, and shared many wonderful experiences with, her longtime companion, Ray Hofmann.
In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Mary may be made to The Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society, 20 Church Street, Camden, NJ 08105 (www.sjcscamden.org)
Mary’s family is planning a Memorial Mass in the Fall of 2020. Please check back to this website for updates.