Merry Jo Slowinski―known to friends and family as MJ, Auntie Jo, and Boomma Jo―passed away at home on February 12, 2020 at the age of 71.
Merry Jo was born December 2, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois, the second of four children to Robert James Baker and Betty Jane Baker. She attended Bogan High School and completed her nursing degree at the Evangelical School of Nursing in Oak Lawn. Shortly after, she served as a First Lieutenant nurse in the Air Force Reserves.
She met her husband and best friend Tom at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn and married him in 1974. In 1977, they moved to Glen Ellyn to raise a family. On Elm Street, their neighbors became forever friends, and MJ became the consummate planner of good things. Their home was a reflection of Merry Jo's joyful spirit―fun, warm, welcoming, and alive with laughter.
She left nursing to raise her sons and start Auntie Jo's Daycare, where she cared for and loved over thirty "littles" throughout the years―including her niece Katie and nephew Brendan. She and Tom also provided foster care to many children.
Following her stage IV cancer diagnosis in 2001, Merry Jo prevailed with optimism, determination, and a little bit of luck. She and Tom traveled, gambled, and golfed through the Caribbean and around the country. Even when her health was declining, she continued to add adventures to her calendar―cruises with friends, and trips to Disney World and the beach with her children and five grandchildren.
She never missed an opportunity to start a new family tradition: Christmas tree chopping, back-to-school shoes and shakes, and special Boomma birthdays to name a few. In her final days, she was adamant Tom (Bampa) maintain these traditions even in her absence.
She lived to see her two boys fall in love, marry, and have children. Nothing brought her more joy than being a grandmother.
Merry Jo was the beloved wife of Tom; mother to Todd (Amy) and Matt (Nessa); and Boomma Jo to Emerson, Teddy, Annabel, Libby, and Millie. She is also survived by her siblings, Penny (the late Preston) Wakeland and Robert (Mary Lee) Baker, and shared a special relationship with her niece Caroline. Merry Jo was unconditionally devoted to many nieces, nephews, and in-laws. She was preceded in death by her parents Robert and Betty Baker and her brother William Baker.
Merry Jo wished for her life to be celebrated with love and laughter. Please join us for a "Heaven Party" open house at the Village Links of Glen Ellyn on Thursday, February 27 from 4-8pm. Casual and colorful attire preferred.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in her name to the Morton Arboretum at https://giving.mortonarb.org/donations
How to Live
By Todd Slowinski
Start a family and move that new family
into a cozy house with a big yard.
Make memories there.
So many memories.
Savor all the friends and family who visit ―
all the time.
Watch your two sons and that house grow over the years.
Teach those sons all you know.
Watch them make their own friends and memories
and become confident and optimistic and fun ―
just like you taught them.
Form a circle of friends who are strong and supportive,
but who are most of all fun.
Love and laugh with them, always.
And just when it looks like this life might end too early,
fight harder than ever before
and survive for 19 more years,
long enough to watch your sons get married,
welcome the two daughters you always wanted,
and get to know five special grandchildren.
With those grandchildren, go on trips,
give excessive amounts of gifts,
worry about them, look after them,
and watch them grow.
Shower them with positive energy, love, confidence, and laughter,
so they can grow up just like you.
Watch over them.
Shine your light on them from above.
And one day along your journey, take some time
to jot down a quote on a yellow notepad for everyone to remember:
"A good life is
do more, need less,
smile often, dream big,
laugh a lot, and realize
how blessed you are."
Live in the memories of all you have touched.
Your strength and love will never be forgotten
To send flowers to Merry's family, please visit our floral section.