Mary Ann Opperman, 83, of Princeton died Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at home surrounded by her loving family. Born in Connellsville, PA she was a lifelong Princeton resident. She and her husband Joe enjoyed a long life together first meeting in 1st grade, then as high school sweethearts followed by 63 years of marriage. Their wonderful life was built around this enduring, unique love for 79 years. Their odyssey began when Joe dipped her pigtail in an inkwell in 1st grade at Southside Elementary School in Connellsville, PA and ended with Joe holding her hand as she left this world.
Mary Ann attended Bucknell University but after two years transferred to Penn State University to be with Joe. Married while still in college, the young couple moved to New Jersey after graduation when Joe began his career at Johnson & Johnson.
She worked at Princeton University for 21 years as a research assistant in the Social Psychology department. She worked with professors and graduate students while managing the human subjects for research. She also volunteered at the Children’s section of the Hospital Fete and Princeton High School as a tutor.
She devoted herself to raising four children in Princeton. She was involved in many volunteer organizations but is best known as the mom to whom her children’s friends would talk to, spending many hours at the kitchen table helping them navigate the social landscape of childhood. Mary Ann comes from a long line of gardeners. She loved to spend time in her perennial garden in Princeton, producing the year-round show despite the clay soil and abundant shade.
She loved to travel for ski and beach vacations with family and friends including summer trips to the Jersey Shore, ski trips to Vail and Telluride, CO and Jackson, WY. Later, she and Joe traveled extensively together in Europe and the Caribbean and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon.
Family was her priority. She went all out at family gatherings, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, at her home in Princeton. She loved having her children and grandchildren home to eat, drink and laugh together.
In 1997 Mary Ann and Joe built with her sister and brother-in-law a house in Culebra, Puerto Rico. She loved to walk on the beaches and sit on the deck to watch the moon and sun rise over the water.
Mary Ann is the daughter of the late James and Mary (Keagy) Banning, mother of the late Joseph Anthony Opperman, sister of the late Jane Katselas. She is survived by her husband of 63 years Joseph J. Opperman, a son Jim Opperman and his partner Sharon Reiman, daughters Julie Opperman and her partner Andrew Eills, Jane Moynihan and her husband Michael Moynihan, five grandchildren Nicholas Cooney, Michael Moynihan, William Squires, Katherine Moynihan and John Moynihan.
A private Graveside service will be held on Friday, January 28, 2022 at the Princeton Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held 2:00 pm on May 22, 2022 at the Springdale Golf Club 1895 Clubhouse Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.