- Published on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:01
- Written by Los Altos Town Crier Staff
Mary Sullivan Brabant passed away peacefully on April 17. She was born Mary Teresa Sullivan on June 24, 1931, in Detroit. Her parents, Michael Joseph Sullivan from Lacca, County Kerry, and Cecelia Elizabeth Moran from Roskeen, County Mayo, had emigrated from Ireland in the 1920s and settled in Detroit. Mary had an older brother, John, and a younger sister, Noreen.
A child of the Depression and the WWII boom years, when Detroit served as FDR's "great Arsenal of Democracy," Mary graduated from Northwestern High School in Detroit, Class of 1949, and later took classes at Northwestern University. She started a career as an executive secretary at Bell Telephone and boarded at a residence downtown with other independent young women. During these single years, she enjoyed going on ski trips, seeing Broadway musicals on tour, riding horses, and enjoying other adventures with friends.
In 1958, she married Charles Edouard Brabant, a Shell Oil engineer from Montreal. They lived for several years on Stahelin Avenue in Detroit, and then moved to Springfield, VA, where Charles worked for the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1963, when Charles took a job at Stanford Research Institute, he and Mary moved their growing family to the Monta Loma neighborhood in Mountain View, CA. In 1964, they settled in Los Altos. They divorced in 1986, at which time Mary moved to the Rex Manor neighborhood in Mountain View with her youngest child.
A devout Roman Catholic, she was a member of several local parishes: St. William in Los Altos, St. Nicholas in Los Altos, and St. Athanasius in Mountain View. In California, Mary learned to drive and to swim. She was a great reader and library patron; she also loved music, plays, and classic movies. She liked to go on long walks outdoors, especially at the Shoreline Regional Wildlife Area in Mountain View, West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, and the San Antonio Open Space Preserve in Los Altos. In San Francisco, her favorite places were the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park and the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Closer to home, she attended water fitness classes faithfully for many years at Reach Fitness in Los Altos and later at the Ross Road YMCA in Palo Alto. Her family kept her extremely busy, but she managed to serve as President of the St. William Parish CCD program for one year and as joint leader of her daughter’s Bluebird troop another year.
Mary raised her family with great love and devotion. From her, we learned the true meaning of unconditional love. Once her youngest child started kindergarten, she started a new career at Syntex Pharmaceuticals in Palo Alto, from which she retired in 1993. After retiring, Mary enjoyed volunteering at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Los Altos. In her spare time, she earned an Associate Degree from Foothill College, Los Altos Hills. Mary enjoyed traveling with the Elder Hostel organization. Over the years, she also made several trips with family to Ireland, where she toured her parents’ native country and visited her Irish relatives, including her cousin Mary P. Moran of Roskeen, County Mayo.
In 2010, Mary moved from California to Pinedale, WY, where she met many new friends. While living at Sublette Center, she was able to spend precious time with the family of her loving daughter, Nora Farrand, and also with her grandson, Patrick Rookus, who lives in Pinedale.
Mary is preceded in death by her son, Charles Edouard Brabant, Jr. Survivors include her sister, Noreen McCormick (Gerald) of Dearborn, MI; daughter Suzanne Schrader of Woodinville, WA; daughter Michelle Rookus (Timothy) of Paso Robles, CA; son Marc Brabant (Annelies) of Ulm, Germany; daughter Nora Farrand (Daniel) of Pinedale, WY; son Matt Brabant (Kristina) of Los Altos, CA; son Joe Brabant (Lori) of Pleasanton, CA; twelve grandchildren (Patrick, Kaitlin, Haley, Mitchell, Quinn, Finn, Riley, Catherine, Sofia, Eleanor, Logan, and Arlo); and four nieces and nephews. She is greatly loved and missed by them all.
Services have been held.