Mary Vorder Bruegge, 96, died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, after living a graceful life. She joins her beloved husband, John W. Vorder Bruegge, who cherished her throughout their 51-year marriage and partnership, in eternal reward.
She leaves behind children, grandchildren and a great-grandchild who adored her: Betty Courte (Peter Cervelli) of Rising Fawn; John Vorder Bruegge of San Diego, Calif.; Ellen Vorder Bruegge of Lookout Mountain, Ga., who provided companionship and care for Mary over many years; Emily Vorder Bruegge of Decatur, Ga.; Anne Vorder Bruegge (David Welsh) of Arlington, Va., and son Nate Welsh; Kathy Glazer of Richmond, Va., sons Trip Glazer and his wife Sarah Jaekel, John Glazer and his wife Phoebe Glazer, and their daughter Molly. While we grieve, we are above all grateful for her long and enduring presence in our lives.
Mary Frances was born in March 1921 to Anna and Thomas Murrel Clark in Tupelo, Miss., and had a brother, Thomas. Her love of learning and beauty and her strong faith were shaped by her parents and Aunt Adele, who instilled in her values that persisted throughout her life and that she shared with her children and their children. She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in education from the Mississippi State College for Women (now called the University of Mississippi) in 1942 and taught school in Shaw, Miss. She was listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities in 1942.
In October 1944, Mary wed John Vorder Bruegge of Memphis, Tenn., who was stationed as a flight instructor near Clarksdale, Miss. After brief periods in New York City and Burbank, Calif., the couple lived in Memphis, relocating to the Chattanooga area in 1969, where Mary has lived ever since. She was a long-time member of Our Lady of the Mount Catholic Church and helped envision the memorial garden there as a peaceful place of rest for parishioners and their families. In recent years, she was part of the Alexian community on Signal Mountain, and appreciated the dedicated staff there.
While Mary’s accomplishments in life were many, her greatest was her role as the center and guide for a large and loving family; she was a never-wavering model of strength, humility, patience, respect and compassion. Every person who had the good fortune to meet or know Mary will remember being touched by her heart, caring encouragement and marvelous sense of humor. She had an extraordinary capacity to listen and understand and encourage; loved ones and strangers alike were drawn to her rare aura of ethereal goodness yet down-to-earth humanity. She assumed and accepted the good in every person, and appreciated beauty, simplicity, and the miracles of nature. She loved and laughed unconditionally and was an example to all of us in a life lived as a symphony of ideals. We will hold her in our hearts and feel her loving presence forever.
Oh how glorious our faith is! Instead of restricting hearts, as the world fancies, it uplifts them and enlarges their capacity to love, to love with an almost infinite love, since it will continue unbroken beyond our mortal life. - St. Teresa of Liseux
A memorial service will be planned for family and friends in the spring. Contributions may be made in her honor for the memorial garden at Our Lady of the Mount Catholic Church.
Announcement by Ryan Funeral Home, Trenton, Georgia.