A Tribute to My Mom on This Mother’s Day

Mary Jane Gartner

Mary Jane (Reed) Gartner

In honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to dedicate this blog to the memory of my mother, Mary Jane (Reed) Gartner who passed away eight months ago on September 10, 2019. Her father was Lewis Reed, founder of Reed Brothers Dodge. It’s hard for me not to reflect on what an amazing person she was. As with most people, I have a few people in my life who really inspire me, and my mom is one of them.

One of the most important things that I ever adopted to help me in achieving my goals were those I learned from my mother. My mother taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and that anything worth doing, is worth doing well. With her as my inspiration, I have been able to fearlessly reinvent myself as my life and times have changed. I cannot express my gratitude for her in words, whose unconditional love has been my greatest strength. My mother has always motivated me to be successful, encouraged me in all of my pursuits, and instilled in me the belief that I can achieve whatever it is that I desire. Her motto is one that I still live by to this day, “There is no such thing as can’t.” Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I always give myself reasons why I can.

I am an author of two self-published books: “Portrait of an Automobile Dealer, Third Edition” and “Lewis Reed Photograph Collection (1898-1960)”. My mother was my primary source for information in both books. There was little documentation that accompanied the photographs, leading me to research through mostly her accounts of where the photos might have been taken, or who was in them. She assisted me with family information, photographs, and photo identification. Throughout this, my mother’s stories have influenced my interest in local history in general, and my interest in the history of our family business in particular.

One of my greatest joys was looking through all of my grandfather’s photographs along with my mother. On many afternoon visits with her, we went through hundreds of photographs and wrote down names, dates, and locations to the best of her recollection. This weekly activity, working together with her sharing memories and photos about previous generations, has been one of the greatest joys of my adult life.

Watching my mom’s eyes light up when I gave her the first proof book of her father’s entire photograph collection — 350 pages and 2500+ photographs — was a beautiful thing to see. True magic happened when she opened that book and started looking through the pictures. The book was a monumental task, and almost 10 years in the making, but it had a monumental reward at the end. Bringing out all those cherished memories for my mom was truly a celebration of her life.

Mary Jane GartnerIf your mother is still living, don’t forget to say “thank you” to her often, especially on Mother’s Day. And if she’s gone, thank God often for the memories you have, and the life and legacy she gave to you. I lost my mom eight months ago. And I still miss her every day. But I find it helps to take the perspective that I didn’t really lose her. I know exactly where she is and where she’ll always be. She is alive in my memories and the link to all of the history I share on this blog. Mom, this is for you… Happy Mother’s Day!

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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

2 responses to “A Tribute to My Mom on This Mother’s Day”

  1. Jonathan B. Richards II says :

    Greetings to you again Ms.Jeanne Gartner,
    This homage to and remembrance of your mother is beautifully done. You speak for all of us who today , and every day , savor the special relationship of mother and child. My remarkable mother has been gone for over nine years now but I miss her still , while being always mindful of the many gifts and lessons she provided. Thank you for the focus your tribute has provided , Jonathan Richards.

    • Reed Brothers says :

      Hello Jonathan,

      I always appreciate it when you take the time to stop by and leave your very kind comments. I hope you are staying safe and healthy through these unusual times!

      My Best Regards,

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