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Mary Kathryn Brien

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(Nee Zeller) Madison- Mary Kathryn Brien, age 56 of Milwaukee, died on Friday, September 2, 2005, at the Don and Marilyn Anderson HospiceCare Center after a courageous struggle with cancer. She was born on March 27, 1949 in Richland Center, the daughter of John and Mary (Scallon) Zeller. She attended high school in Richland Center, and went on to get her nursing degree at St. Francis School of Nursing in La Crosse, WI. In Eau Claire, she met Joseph Brien, a fellow nursing student, of Adams. They were married for ten years and had three children. She made her home in Milwaukee, where she was a registered nurse for over 30 years. Her passions were cooking, sewing, and gardening; before falling ill, she was taking classes in Milwaukee for landscape architecture, and had dreamed of opening a bed-and-breakfast and garden center in her hometown. She had started a move to Madison last February, taking a job with WPS, adn staying with her sister in Pleasant Springs. A blood clot discovered last March left her hospitalized at UW Hospital for 45 days, but she was able to return to her sister's home in July. A miracle occurred last August, when she survived the collapse of the two-story house due to the devastating tornado in Pleasant Springs; she was unable to move from her bed on the second story, but was found alive, with a broken leg, a gash in her upper right arm, and multiple cuts and bruises, but without head injury, in her sister's driveway. Her family had two weeks more to say goodbye, before her injuries and the cancer claimed another loving, unselfish, and courageous life. She loved the simple things in life, and would pass on that message not to neglect those simple things, simple places, or simple people. She is survived by her mother, Mary Zeller; her two sisters, Ann Wirth of Pleasant Springs, and Margaret Steel of Madison; her brother, Francis Zeller, of Rosamond, California; her three children her two sons, Michael of Middleton, Matthew of Milwaukee, and her daughter, Michelle of Milwaukee; and numerous relatives and many friends. The family wishes to thank the compassionate doctors and nurses that cared for Mary along her journey. A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, September 17th at 10:30 AM at ST. BERNARD'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, 7450 University Avenue (corner of University and Parmenter), in Middleton. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials in Mary's name to the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, or a favorite charity of choice, which will continue Mary's legacy of caring for others.
Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sept. 12, 2005
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