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Mary Newbrough

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Mary Newbrough Obituary
Mary Newbrough

West Des Moines

Mary Newbrough began her life journey on Feb 26, 1952 in Hampton, Iowa. She left this earth on Sunday July 27th, 2014. She was the third of four children born to Robert and Wilma (Schulze) Newbrough. Early childhood homes were in Latimer, Waterloo, Waverly, and Estherville. The family moved to Windsor Heights in November 1961.

Mary attended Clive Elementary, Stilwell Jr High, and Valley High School, where she was active in Band, Basketball, and challenging elitism, hypocrisy, and crowd mentality wherever she found it. With a sigh of relief the school administration graduated her with the class of 1970. She attended the University of Iowa for two years and then transferred to Drake, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree with magna cum laude distinction.

From childhood vacations on, traveling was a passion. Mary was active in Friendship Force during its early years in Des Moines. She was an ambassador to Newcastle, England and hosted ambassadors from Ireland, Korea, and Germany. Among her favorite places visited were Scotland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

She was known for her strongly written letters drafted whenever an appropriate cause required one. A life-long learner, Mary always had a book or magazine going. She was a whiz at trivia and was a wealth of knowledge about totally useless information. She faithfully completed the NY Times Crossword each day. She loved dance, music of almost all genres, ensemble cast movies, and Coca-Cola. She was a history and genealogy buff, a true descendant of Matthew Grant—always organizing, recording events and "pasting for posterity."

Almost never did she view the world from the same perspective of others. She was definitely on the outside edges of most bell curves. By nature she was painfully shy, but could become a fierce advocate for caused that she allowed herself to feel deeply about. However, when advocating, she had difficulty reining in her passion and could become quite ruthless. This was a trait that she diligently tried to temper and prayed about constantly. Although there are those, who knew her true heart and good intentions; there are also those that are now gleefully singing Ding, Dong,The Witch Is Dead. Unable to reconcile these contrasting parts of self, in her final years Mary chose to spare others of the drama by cloistering herself in reflective solitude.

Through the years Mary was employed by Clayton House Motel, McNeal Motel, The Bankers Life, Plaza State Bank, National By-Products, Norwest Card Services, Preferred Risk Insurance and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. During some lean times she also did home daycare and carried 5 morning paper routes.

The birth of her son, Zachary, changed and challenged her life. She loved him with all of her heart and worked hard to be the best mom and special needs advocate she could be for him. Being the single mother of one of the first group of kids diagnosed with Asperger's, Mary made it a mission to educate others about this population and try to stem the bullying that was part of their lives. He became a great comfort and support to her as her health declined, for which she was very grateful. Her caregiver Julie was also a great support.

Mary is survived by her son Zachary (Elizabeth), Brothers Bill and Michael of Des Moines, Sister Kathie Steacy, of Chico, California and nephew Chad (Christine) Steacy of Athens, Georgia. She had a granddaughter Kiona Autumn Rose Newbrough and a Great Niece Sophie Steacy. Mary was preceded in death by her father, Robert Newbrough, her mother Wilma Newbrough, her paternal grandparents, Harold and Grace (Moser) Newbrough, her maternal grandparents, William and Ruth (Schulz) Schulze and her maternal great-grandfather, August Schulz.

Considering herself to be too flawed for a permanent, intimate relationship, Mary never married. The interesting and often amusing loves of her early adulthood brought her many cherished memories. Sadly for Mary, things did not work out between her and the one great love of her life. He knows who is is and Mary wanted him to know that she "carried a torch for him" until the end of her life.

Mary is also survived by her friends, who helped and encouraged her in the deterioration of her health and shrinking of her world: Shirley Shafer, Susan Lynch, Sarah Larson, Sue Newberg Lykken, Emily Goodfriend Schiefer, Susan Catterall, Mary Nielsen Krantz and Joyce Eigsti. She was humbled, blessed, and extremely grateful for the amazing support, financial medical-expense donations and well wishes from former schoolmates and co-workers; from the drive organized by LuAnne Owen Donaho, JoEllen Crook McDonald and Rick Messerschmidt for her behalf. She was amazed that so many people even remembered her after the passing of so many years.

Mary wished to express heartfelt admiration for her many mentors, her heartfelt appreciation to her loyal friends, and her heartfelt apologies to any enemies incurred by her zeal. And to all she would offer, "Hold fast to your faith, always. Ask God to help you with your unbelief. Just let yourself fall back and trust the Lord to catch you. You will experience the deep, deep peace that surpasses all understanding."

A visitation will be held from 4:00-6:00 PM on Sunday, August 3, 2014 at Caldwell Raddatz Funeral Home, 8201 Hickman RD, Urbandale, IA 50322. A memorial service will be at 10:30 AM on Monday, August 4, 2014 at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the family the family to be used for their .

Online condolences can be sent at


Published in Des Moines Register from July 30 to Aug. 3, 2014
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