Connell Funeral Home, Inc.
245 E. Broad Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8531
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Mary Brendel

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Mary Brendel Obituary
Mary Brendel
Mary Brendel of Bethlehem, PA and Fort Myers, FL. Mary, the daughter of the late Daniel and Gertrude (Conville) Campbell, was born July 1, 1928 in Mt. Carmel, PA. She was a member of SS. Simon and Jude Catholic Church in Bethlehem and for many years attended Mass each morning. Mary was a 1950 graduate of Penn State University earning a BS Degree in Biology and Elementary Education. She taught fourth grade in suburban Philadelphia before she was married. Marys energy and intellectual curiosity prompted her to be an active, concerned, and caring member of each community in which she lived. In Bethlehem, PA, her primary residence, she served as a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the following organizations: American Association of University Women, Senior Citizens of Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley Unit of the and the YWCA of Bethlehem. She also served for several years as a Chairperson of the s Annual Boutique at the Rink fund raiser which in its 25 plus years raised well over $1,000,000 for the . In Fort Myers, FL, where she and her husband resided during the past 12 winters, she played golf and bridge and belonged to the book club and the Friday Club at Fiddlesticks Country Club where they resided. Mary and her husband, Bob, were also volunteers at the Fort Myers Manor Care rehab and nursing home where she visited with those who did not have any family or visitors. She often talked to her family about these men and women who became a part of her life, and she often inspired them to play a game of gin or laugh along to one of her 100s of jokes. Sometimes Mary played the piano and sang for an audience in the main day room where she filled the space with the music of their generation.Mary always had a smile and a hug for every person she met and listened with great attention to all those who were fortunate enough to know her. She supported, cared for, and served many people in need of love and kindness through the course of her life, visiting, phoning, and writing to them sometimes for many years. She was a lifeline for many, some acquaintances and some close friends, meeting them for weekly lunches and dinners. Her husband, children, and grandchildren will always remember her deep and abiding love and interest in anything having to do with family. Her laughter and sense of fun made her an energetic companion for any adventure - shopping for antiques or clothes (she loved bright colors, especially orange) or going to a museum, concert, play, or dinner.She was always ready for a game of any sort whether cards, quoits, or paddle tennis. She played golf with passion and joy, still working on her putting and chipping until she was 84 years old! She was an expert bridge player who loved the community, competition, and intellectual challenge of the game and played in two bridge clubs until she became ill at 84. Her lifelong love of learning made her an avid reader and studier of all that interested her. Her family remembers her eating lunch each day while reading a book of history or politics or art. Her home in Bethlehem, in which she lived for 53 years, was carefully decorated by her over many years with antiques and art that reflected who she was and how she saw the world. Many days after school her children came home to her playing Tchaikovsky or Mozart on the piano and sometimes playing and singing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. She filled every space she entered with light and happiness. Survivors: Mary will be dearly missed by her husband, Bob; they celebrated their 61st anniversary on May 3, 2013; and her son, Robert J. Brendel, Jr. of Delaware; daughters, Katie Brendel Hearn of Stewartstown, PA and Evelyn Jennes of Aerdenhout, Netherlands; and her five grandchildren, Anna Lou, Campbell, Everie, Elies, and Ella. She was preceded in death by her sister, Catherine Campbell Fischer. Services: Arrangements have been entrusted to The Connell Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, September 19, at 1 p.m. at SS. Simon and Jude Catholic Church 730 W. Broad St., Bethlehem, PA 18018. A reception at Saucon Valley Country Club in Center Valley, PA will be held immediately following the Funeral Mass. In January, 2014, a reception will be held at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Meyers, FL. This date will be announced later this fall via the local newspaper and email. Contributions: In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the , P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718 or Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21297-0303. For information and to offer condolences online please visit www.connellfuneral.com.
Published in Morning Call on Aug. 25, 2013
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