It is with great sadness that the family of Mary Elizabeth Brandt, 63, of Surprise, Arizona, share her unexpected passing on July 24, 2021, of a pulmonary embolism.
Mary was born on January 21, 1958, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She was a graduate of Tremper High School and Ripon College, where she studied psychology and elementary education. Mary was a devoted educator and always gave her best to make sure every student had a chance to succeed. She taught in Watertown and New Richmond, Wisconsin, before moving to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1984. Mary spent the past 37 years filling many roles in the Washington Elementary School District. For the majority of her career, Mary worked as a reading interventionist, Title I coordinator and BEGIN mentor. After joining the coaching team at the WESD Administrative Center, she shared research-based reading strategies and mentored reading teachers from the district's 32 schools. Mary was the OASIS intergenerational volunteer coordinator for many years, and a member of the Washington Education Foundation, coordinating the mini-grant program, hosting grant writing workshops and facilitating the grant selection process. She was a Lamp of Learning recipient in 2002, the WESD's highest honor.
Mary was passionate, caring and loved life. She was adventurous and loved traveling. Her colleagues, friends and family will always remember her kind and generous spirit. Mary went "above and beyond" in both her professional and personal life. Her family and friends will always remember the creative and special touches she added to holidays and family gatherings which made them truly memorable. Mary made the ordinary, extraordinary!
Mary is survived by her sisters and brothers: Jean Doud, Richard Brandt, Ruth Brandt, Susan Toris, Ann Smessaert, James Brandt and their spouses. Mary cherished the time she spent with her nine nieces and nephews and their families and loved them dearly. She was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Elizabeth Brandt. Wisconsin always held a special place in Mary's heart.
A public visitation will be held from 9:30 - 11:00 AM, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Saturday, October 2, 2021, followed by a memorial mass at 11:00 AM. A celebration of Mary's life will be held in November for her many friends and colleagues in Arizona.
There are so many special memories with Mary; from our high school and college years to my wedding and living in Arizona. I will always treasure her friendship. Her special gifts and talents will be missed by so many.
May God comfort you and may all the special memories sustain you as you grieve her unexpected passing.
Love, Jackie (Selin) Prey"
"Mary and your family,
We were so lucky to know her and her eternal optimism. I served on the school board when Mary worked in the district but also on the Washington Education Foundation where she also worked tirelessly. She will be missed forever.
Aaron Jahneke, Board member for WESD 2009-2012"