The Norman Transcript

June 21, 2013

Mary Helen Brumback


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Mary Helen Brumback, along with her beloved husband, Roger Alan Brumback, tragically died in Omaha, Neb., in May 2013. Mary was an amazing person and so full of life, but she was taken from us too soon. Mary was 65 years old.

Mary was born in Richland, Wash., in 1947 to Harry and Dorothy Skinner. She grew up primarily in Arlington, Va. Her family relocated to Bethel Park, Penn., where she attended Bethel Park Senior High School and graduated in 1965.

Mary was a remarkable student in high school, as she was involved in the student council, science club, math honor society, gymnastics, marching band, French club, and the National Honor Society. Mary then attended Pennsylvania State University, where she met Roger, her future husband. She transferred to University of Pittsburgh and earned her B.S. in pharmacology.

Mary worked as a pharmacist in Baltimore while her husband was a doing a residency at Johns Hopkins University. Next, they moved to St. Louis, where she gave birth to her first child while Roger did an additional residency. Then, they moved back east to Rockville, Md., where Roger worked in Bethesda at the National Institute of Health.

As both Mary and her husband wanted to be near family, they chose to live in the Pittsburgh area. Roger started his initial medical practice in nearby Wilkins Township. Throughout the years Mary, Roger and their family loved to visit with their relatives in Monroeville, Penn., at Christmas time, as it was an extremely joyful time for all.

Mary was a devoted wife to Roger and a loving mother to their children. Mary and her family especially enjoyed visiting the abundant museums and art galleries, the Pittsburgh Zoo, historical sites, Kennywood Park and the multitude of cultural venues in Pittsburgh.

As a result of Roger’s career, Mary and her family got the opportunity to live and explore many different localities across the country. Eventually, they chose to settle in Norman. While living in Norman, Mary earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. She then practiced family law in Norman for several years. Prior to her getting a law degree, Mary also helped Roger as an editor of many of his publishing endeavors, including his many medical publications and journals. Mary co-authored a book with her husband, titled “The Dietary Fiber Weight Control Handbook.”

For many years while in Oklahoma, Mary and her children would make homemade fudge as gifts for family, friends and her husband’s coworkers at Christmas time. One year, she made about 160 pounds of fudge with the help of her children. Her fudge was such a delightful treat for all. Of course, Mary’s favorite food was chocolate.  Mary also prided herself in making baked goods from scratch. She used natural ingredients in her cooking endeavors, such as in her scrumptious homemade apple pies, pecan pies and baklava.

In 2001, Mary and Roger moved to Omaha, Neb., where Roger took the position of chairman of the Pathology Department at Creighton University Medical Center. While in Omaha, Mary belonged to the Philanthropic Educational Organization, other women's organizations and volunteered at the Service League Gift Shop at Creighton University. Mary enjoyed cooking, gardening and visiting long-lost relatives found through Roger’s and her genealogy research. 

Mary devoted herself full time to accompanying Roger in his academic pursuits, medical conferences and other travel adventures. As Mary was an avid art enthusiast, she visited as many art museums and galleries as possible during their worldwide travel together.

With the impending retirement of her husband from Creighton University, Mary was looking forward to their new adventure of life in Lewisburg, W.V., and to be closer to her relatives.

Mary was preceded in death by her father, Harry Skinner, Lt. Col. Ret.

She is survived by her mother, Dorothy Skinner of Columbia, Md.; her mother-in-law, Frances N. Brumback of Monroeville, Penn.; her sister, Julia Kommers and husband Richard of Annapolis, Md.; and by nephews Eugenio Estinto of Leesburg, Va., and Eduardo Estinto of Bethesda, Md.; niece, Ethel of Columbia, Md.; her sister-in-law, Carol Jean Brumback of Middletown, Md.; and by numerous loving family members.

Friends will be received from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Eastmont, 1229 Jefferson Heights Road in Pittsburgh (Wilkins Township), followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m., with Pastor Linda Theophilus officiating. Interment will follow at 1 p.m. at the Restland Memorial Park in Monroeville, Penn. 

The celebration of the lives of Mary and Roger will follow at the Garden City Banquet Hall (Garden City Volunteer Fire Department), 600 Garden City Drive in Monroeville, Penn.  

Arrangements are by the Gene H. Corl Inc. Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services of Monroeville.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to one of the following: Philanthropic Educational Organization, service organization supporting women’s education, at peointernational.org; or mail checks to “Cottey College” in memory of Mary Brumback, Institutional Advancement, Cottey College, 1000 W. Austin, Nevada, MO 64772; or Penn State Hershey College of Medicine at giveto.pennstatehershey.org, 717-531-8497.

Please designate the Dr. Roger and Mary Brumback Alzheimer’s Disease Memorial Scholarship.

Norman Transcript, Friday, June 21, 2013


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