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Mary Michele Brickhouse

1943 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Mary Michele Brickhouse Obituary
August 14, 1943 - December 25, 2016 Mary Michele ("Mike") Brickhouse passed away during the morning hours of December 25, 2016. Mary was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 14, 1943 to Mary Catherine (Kaney) and Gregory Laughlin Brickhouse. The oldest of four siblings, she was a loving mother and friend, consummate caregiver, voracious reader, world traveler and history buff. Mary was a resident of the Palos Verdes Peninsula for over forty years, raising her children, Dabney and Greg O'Riordan, within sight and earshot of the ocean she loved so much. As a child, Mary lived in Wisconsin, Washington, Oklahoma, California, Virginia, Georgia, Japan and Belgium. She spent her high school years in Columbus, Georgia, graduating from Columbus High School and Saint Francis Hospital School of Nursing. Mary was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling throughout the world. In 1987, she and a friend formed a book club that continues to this day. Some of her international adventures included taking her children to visit her sister and brother in Germany and Scotland, river barging with friends through France, traveling with her daughter to Italy, Ireland, Russia and Tanzania, and touring China. Mary devoted her life to caring for others as a nurse. During the Vietnam War, she volunteered for the Army-Nurse Corps. From June 1967 to December 1968, Mary was stationed at the U.S. Army's 3d Surgical Hospital in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. The hospital was a MUST unit, which was a forward hospital that frequently suffered mortar attacks. Her unwavering compassion for the young American servicemen and Vietnamese children affected by war culminated with the award of a Bronze Star and her honorable separation as First Lieutenant. After her military service, Mary moved to California, ultimately settling in Southern California. Mary worked at Torrance Memorial Medical Center for 17 years, where she focused on oncology nursing and community programs, as well as nursing education. While at Torrance Memorial, she began the hospital's annual Cancer Survivors Day and the Woman to Woman program. In 1993, she earned her master's in nursing from California State University of Los Angeles, and later worked at UCLA's Avon Breast Center. From 2002 to 2006, Mary was a nursing instructor at Los Angeles Harbor College, where she taught the next generation of nurses. Mary was not only a caregiver to those with cancer, but was herself a cancer survivor having fought the disease three times. In 1992, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2005, she was diagnosed with a sarcoma, which recurred in 2006. Despite long odds and debilitating treatments, Mary showed incredible strength, remained positive and enjoyed life. After her 2006 diagnosis and treatment, she continued to read and travel, and was delighted to watch her grandchildren grow and attend her daughter's wedding. She remained cancer free at her death. Mary is survived by her daughter Dabney and her husband David, her son Greg and his wife Fran, her grandchildren Mary, Jack and Grace, her sisters Neville Kirby and Johnette D'Arcy and her husband Gerald D'Arcy, her brother Kevin Brickhouse and his wife Kim Brickhouse, her nieces Meredith, Mary Catherine and Ty, and her nephews Bill, John and Zack. Services will be at Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m., with a reception to follow at Terranea from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cancer Support Community of Redondo Beach.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 31, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017
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