Mary Margaret Malm Breininger was born on April 29th, 1933 in Cotati, California; into a family of seven siblings, of which she was the second youngest. She grew up on the family chicken farm in Santa Rosa, California.
During her life of nearly 89 years, she married her husband, Fred Breininger, in 1957 and together they raised a son and daughter; John and Susan; and lived together for nearly 50 years before his passing in 2006.
During their family-raising years, Mary and Fred lived in the San Francisco Bay Area until 1975, when they moved to San Luis Obispo, California to accept a new job. A few years later, they moved to Gig Harbor, Washington where they lived up until Fred’s death in 2006. Mary continued to live in the home there until she passed away on December 31st, 2021. She lived in the home they had built for almost 44 years; half of her life.
In that time, Mary had largely been a Mom and house wife. She later became the business manager and book keeper for the business that she and Fred started, manufacturing gold eye lid weights for a medical instrument company that he had helped to start some years before. She was very proud of her role in that venture.
Mary (Mom) was born into an era which saw unprecedented challenges and achievements. Born during the Great Depression, Mom was part of what is now called “The Greatest Generation”. She was born during the worst economic event in modern history, and lived through a major world war. She had two brothers and a sister who served in World War II, and one who served during the Korean War. Her father served as an Air Raid Warden at home. Mom herself served as a civilian aircraft ground observer in her teen years.
During her life, she saw mankind go into space, and walk on the moon. Her generation unraveled the mystery of genetics and saw great advances in medicine that formed the foundations of modern medical science. The same generation brought about advances in electronics and saw the beginnings of personal computing; something we all take for granted today.
Also during her time, she saw society confront the issues of racial inequality in the mid-60’s, and the women’s rights movement in the late-60’s. A new form of music became popularized beginning in the mid-50’s. Emerging from Jazz and Blues, came Rock and Roll, which is still popular today and is continuing to evolve.
Thinking back on her childhood years, Mom always said how fortunate she was to have been born into such a wonderful family. She often said that while they didn’t have much money, they lived a rich life; largely due to the fact that they lived on a farm. She recounted fondly how her father would clear out the chicken house and crank up the Victrola so that the kids could roller skate inside the coup on the concrete floor.
Mom has often been described by people she met as being a sweet lady who always had a wonderful smile. She always had a generous heart, whether she was leaving food out for her numerous forest friends, or giving her business to local small businesses who she knew could use the boost. She always had a special place in her heart for her friends who were of the feline persuasion. She always gave more than she took.
Mary is survived by her children; son John and his wife Kathryn; daughter Susan (Mix) and husband Brad. She is also survived by 2 grandchildren; Zoe Moore-Mix (husband Alex) and Shauen Trump (wife Krista), and 5 great-grandchildren (four boys, and finally a girl!).
She lived in a generation that knew hard times; knew how to make personal sacrifices, and were never afraid of hard work. They always did right by their families and children, and knew how to work toward the common good. She and her generation; and the values they espoused, will be sorely missed. We could use more people like them today. God’s speed Mom! We love you. We will miss you and we will never forget you!
In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be made to the Tacoma Pierce County Humane Society.
Tacoma Pierce County Humane Society
2608 Center St, Tacoma, Tacoma WA 98409