After raising three girls she adopted out of foster care, Mary Jane Malone wanted a way to honor them while helping Perry County. She also wanted to memorialize one daughter, whose life was taken by a tragic event. Mary Jane Malone created the Mary Jane Malone Endowment Fund through the Perry County Community Foundation that will give back forever while remembering her and her family. Read Mary Jane’s story, written herself, about her life, her family’s life, and why she recently created this fund.
“I was born and raised in Perry County graduating from St. Mark’s Elementary and Tell City High School. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Indiana State University, I moved to Richmond Indiana, where I taught for 37 years.
“In the late 1980s I checked into adopting an older child and met Kathy when she was 13 years old. She had been in and out of the foster care system since birth and then available for adoption since the age of seven. She was a bright, inquisitive, energetic, and surprisingly positive young lady considering everything she had been through. She did have low self-esteem, though. But after involving her in activities where she had interests, it was like watching a bud blossom into a beautiful flower.
“After two years Kathy and I decided to look into finding her a sibling. That is when we met Melissa and Heather, age ten and nine. They were biological sisters who had been in foster care and potential adoptive homes for four years. They had been through some terrible abuse and felt rejection from their biological mother who did not believe them. They depended on each other to survive.
“And we became a family. Melissa and Heather were also involved in several different activities according to their interests to build up their self-esteem and confidence. As a family we have experienced some challenging times, some frustrating times, some devastating times, and some very good times. But through it all, I wanted them to have a family, a base in their life.
“After many different struggles in their teens and twenties, Melissa and Heather and their families have both settled in the Wilmington, North Carolina, area. Melissa and her husband have three children, and Heather and her husband have two children.
“Kathy and her husband moved to the Kansas City area. Kathy became a paramedic for Kansas City, was accredited in many different areas, and truly found her calling. After issues in her marriage, she filed for divorce, and her husband started stalking her. A year later, as she and her partner returned to their station after a call, her ex-husband ambushed and killed them.
“I am very proud of the American flag presented to me at her funeral service in Kansas City. It had flown over the U.S. Capitol building the day of her death—April 3, 2004.
“My three daughters have been an inspiration to me. I watched them struggle to overcome the aftereffects of not having that foundation of a family in their early years. Therefore, I want to honor my daughters by establishing a fund through the Perry County Community Foundation to help children and families in crisis situations in this area. It will be used to hopefully provide a more normal, safe, and caring atmosphere for them.
“Also in honor of Kathy, who was a dedicated First Responder, this fund will be used to help with the needs of the First Responders in this area.“
The Foundation is honored that Mary Jane selected us to memorialize her daughter Kathy Malone and honor her other daughters Melissa Malone and Heather Malone. This fund will support public safety (including police departments, first responders, fire departments); help families in crisis; improve educational and support services for children in foster care; and provide for projects that help at-risk children.