Mary Jane "Jari" Elizabeth Foster Pulford

  • Born: May 7, 1947
  • Died: March 31, 2020
  • Location: Augusta, Michigan

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home Cremation Care, Richland Chapel

9170 East D Avenue
Richland, MI 49083

Tel. (269) 629-6022

Tribute & Message From The Family


Mary Jane "Jari" Elizabeth Foster Pulford, age 72, of Augusta sadly passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family, on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. She was born in Hibbing, Minnesota on May 7, 1947, the loving daughter of Arthur I. and Margaret C. (Le Claire) Foster. She graduated from Hibbing High School with the class of 1965 and went on to study Social Psychology at St. Olaf College, where she graduated with Honors. She continued her education at the University of Michigan and graduated with a master's degree in Public Health, Health Education and Health Behavior. She had an extensive career in social justice and public health, beginning in Washington D.C. where she helped start the U.S. Navy Race Relations School in Key West, FL in the 70's. After obtaining her MPH, she moved to Lansing and worked for the Michigan Department of Public Health. While there she co-developed the first Michigan State Plan for Emergency Medical Services. She also became a volunteer Paramedic in Grand Ledge, where she met her husband, Mike. In the late 70's she became Executive Director of SWM Systems, the regional EMS agency covering the lower peninsula of Michigan and held that job for the next 30 years. While there she developed Camp 9-1-1, a program to teach children about first aid and safety that is still taught by EMS agencies across Michigan today. Following her retirement from SWM in 2008, she worked as a project manager for Open Doors Kalamazoo, which provides shelter and affordable housing for low-income working people, until her official retirement last year. There she started the "Adopt A Room" program and scholarship fund. She was also an author of many public health articles and the children's book "The World is a Rainbow".

Jari is survived by her beloved husband of 42 years, Michael A. Pulford of Augusta; her children, Megan (Joe) White of Alabama; Sara (Brandon) Harrison of Howell; and Matthew Pulford of Indiana; and grandchildren Maggie, Abby, Tess, Emmy, Hannah, Max, and Lincoln.

Jari was an active member of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Richland, having served on the vestry and social ministry committee. She spent her life as a fierce advocate for social justice. She was an avid reader, expert scrabble player, MENSA member, volunteer, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and loyal friend. Her favorite role was that of "Omma" to her seven grandchildren, whom she adored and spoiled regularly. She enjoyed playing board games, collecting penguin figurines, walks to the MSU Bird Sanctuary, trips to Disney World and Alabama, pontoon rides and relaxing at "pancake island", and bonfires and s'mores with her family. She also loved spending time with her many dear friends.

Guided by her faith, Jari dedicated her life to the service of others and lived by the following principle and favorite quote:
"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." -Steven Grellet

Due to the recent government regulations regarding gatherings, and the large number of people who knew and loved Jari, a public celebration of her life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Open Doors Kalamazoo or the Social Ministry Fund at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Richland. Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel.