Mary Jo (Donley) Cavender

mary cavender

December 22, 1929 ~ October 23, 2022

Born in: Pueblo, CO
Resided in: Colorado City, CO

Mary Jo (Donley) Cavender, 92, a Wonderful Mom, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother, was born on Dec. 22, 1929, and passed away on Oct. 23, 2022.

Mary Jo was born at home and grew up at Hyde Park Dairy in Pueblo. She attended Irving and Thatcher and graduated from Centennial High School in 1948, and from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A.  She also attended Pueblo Jr. College and CSU Pueblo and became a  respected teacher at Risley Middle School. Mary Jo also managed Hyde Park Dairy Store in Pueblo.

She was a member of the International Chapter PEO Sisterhood Chapter F – Pueblo and Assistance League of Pueblo. Mary Jo volunteered many hours at the Bargain Box Thrift Store, Operation School Bell, Holiday Fashion Preview and as a docent for Rosemont Museum.

She had a wonderful green thumb and LOVED her rose garden. She enjoyed Dance A Robix and  Zumba and gambling was a favorite pastime and she seemed to always win.

Mary Jo is survived by her son, Steven (Dianne) Cavender; daughters, Gail (Ron) Weber and Becky (Cheryl) Cavender; granddaughters, Aubrey (Pete) Giacopelli and Lindsey Cavender; great-grandchildren, David Giacopelli and Iyah Logan Cavender- Mosley; sisters-in-law, Sally Donley,  Joann Donley and Nadine Donley; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

She married William C. Cavender, Jr. at Vineland Methodist Church in July 1951 and was divorced in 1978.

Preceded in death by parents, Theodore Sr. and Mary Blanche Donley; brothers, Theodore Donley, Jr., Jack Donley and James Donley; and special friend, David Robb.

Memorials can be made to the Bargain Box Thrift Shop, 331 E. 4th St. Pueblo, CO 81003, Pueblo Care and Share, 100 Greenhorn Dr., Pueblo, CO 81004 or Rye Fire Protection District, 4495 Bent Brothers Blvd, Colorado City, CO 81019. Online condolences,



Life Celebration: May 6, 2023 2:00 pm

Mountain View Cemetery Scattering Garden
1315 Acero Avenue
Pueblo, CO 81004


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  1. Mary Jo was a big part of the Jingle Bell craft group and we all looked forward to her wonderful candies and breads. She was really fun to be around and was a hard worker.

  2. I just heard that Mary Jo had passed away; we’re so sorry. My mom (Lyla Donley Ford) was a first cousin to Mary Jo, and we heard many happy stories of their growing-up years in Pueblo. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Jo when we took Mom back to Colorado for the big Donley Family Reunion, and again when we were in Denver in 2015 for the opening of the Dye Garden at Chatfield in honor of my sister, Janice, who passed away in 2011. After my Mom passed away in 2019, I kept in touch with Mary Jo via mail; I treasure the letters I received from her over the past couple of years.
    Our hearts go out to Mary Jo’s family. We wish you peace and comfort and many great memories.
    Karen Ford (and husband Alan Potter)

  3. Mary and I are first cousins and we grew up together on West 11th. St. I will miss the times our families got together for numerous occasions. Mary lived an active life including many hours of volunteering and helping others. She will be missed by many who knew her generosity and willingness to help. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mary’s family as they adjust to their loss. May Mary rest in Peace.

  4. Steve, Becky and Cheryl,

    I’m just now seeing that you lost your mom, I’m of course so sorry.
    Your mom was a second mom of many of us, that spent so much time at your house growing up.
    Weather it was for scouting Steve or just being friends during our years at East.
    I’m sitting hear typing this , but what I see in my head is your mom’s face with that friendly smile and laugh at the dumb things she would catch us doing!
    Steve, Becky and Cheryl many of us will always remeber your mom, as one of the more peasant experiences of growing up in Belmont!
    Mar Balsick

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know Mary Jo personally, but knew of her through the William C Cavender family. Teresa Truan-Smith

  6. My condolences! Your mother was a great lady. She was my 7th grade teacher for cooking. She also was my sons cooking teacher. We would see her at all the Christmas boutiques we participated in as she was selling her breads through out town. She always remembered us. So sorry.😪 God bless you all.

  7. Our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your mother. She was a special person and a privilege to have known her.

  8. Mary Jo was a teacher at Risley Middle School in the early 80’s when I served as principal. She was an outstanding home eco teacher. She was well liked and respected by her students and the staff. She never had any discipline problems and at middle school that is unusual. I remember her as always was being upbeat and positive. After she and I retired we would cross paths from time to time sharing good memories of days gone by. I consider her a true friend who will be missed by all.

  9. Ms. Cavendar was my cooking teacher at Risley. She was such a nice teacher and we learned a lot from her. The one picture of her is how I remember her – a beautiful person inside and out. It is nice to see she lived such a long life. The family is lucky to have had her for so long.

  10. Becky and Cheryl I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. I first met Mary Jo at Risley. I was teaching physical education and I admired her ability to manage a class. Teachers always gathered in her classroom to eat some of the goodies she offered them. I didn’t see her for many years until I started going to Dance-A-Robix. She was one of the huge inspirations we had in class. She was always fun to talk to and I loved her homemade candy and breads and cookies that she brought to class to sell. I especially loved her toffee. I also have one of her beautiful scarves that she crocheted. When we moved from DAR to Zumba, Mary Jo was usually in the line behind me. She never gave up. What a treasure she was. I’m so lucky and blessed to have known her. My deepest sympathies.

  11. Mrs. Cavender was my home economics teacher at Risley Jr. High school in the early 70’s she was a well respected teacher. One that I never forgot. RIP my Cooking Teacher!

  12. Mary Jo was part of my Zumba class. She was my hero with all of her energy and joy! We were lucky enough to enjoy some of her lemon bars.

  13. I treasure a handwritten recipe card from Mary Jo for Lemon Bars…I was blessed to have been the pastor for Mary Jo, Virginia and Rae for so many years. This holy trio is feasting and laughing with Jesus in Heaven

  14. Steve, my condolences to you and your family on the passing of your mom.
    I remember her smiling and always helping out during our scouting activities in your home.
    Thinking about you.

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