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Mary Jane Hendrie

Mary Jane was born in Dundee, Scotland on Friday, 13th September, 1957.  We lived in Stirling, Scotland for eight years before emigrating to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada with Mary Jane and four other siblings, Mary Jane being the eldest. 

When Mary Jane was 16, she won a scholarship with the Rotary and went as an exchange student to Japan for one year.  Upon returning to Canada, she completed her grade 12 and 13 in one year and then left for the University of Toronto.

Over the years, she went to Japan on three scholarships with the University of Toronto and had just completed her Masters before leaving to take up a position in Japan as an economist.  She was completely fluent in speaking and writing Japanese.  Thus, she was on KAL 007 that fateful day.

Mary Jane was a clever, caring, compassionate and loving person in every way.  Her Canadian citizenship card washed up on the Japanese shores a few days after the crash and was returned to us.  We convinced ourselves that that was her last message to us.  Her boyfriend at the time revealed what she had written in a letter to him from Japan on March 29th, 1983.  We have treated it as her legacy to us and shared it with many people who are struggling to cope with the many griefs and illnesses of this life and hope it gives them comfort as it has given us.

From a letter by Mary Jane Hendrie to Sun Bae Kim, March 29, 1983:
 "Count your blessings and overcome your hardships.  That is what life is all about... the 'Tragic Sense of Life' is that people allow... hardships to overwhelm them... But I think it is exactly an effort to resist that darkness when it is overwhelming that is the beauty of human life..."

Margaret Hendrie,
Mother of Mary Jane Hendrie

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