Mary Margaret Mohrbacher found peace December 27, 2009, two days after celebrating her 97th birthday surrounded by her family who loved her dearly.
Known affectionately as “Honey” to her family and as“Monnie” to her friends, her smile, grand sense of humor, and love for storytelling captivated those around her. A very special lady. Ever the life of the party, she sipped her champagne and danced the Charleston with grace and elegance, always with a wink. A wordsmith and lover of language, she took great pleasure in completing New York Times crossword puzzles. She had a zest for life, a charming presence, and a dazzling sparkle in her eyes. In her passing, Monnie’s charismatic and witty spirit will be missed by all.
Born on Christmas Day in 1912 to Mary Colgan Breusing and Edward Charles Brinck in Springfield, IL, Monnie soon moved to Racine with her mother, special father Joseph Redler, and sister, Frances, where she attended Franklin Junior High, Washington Park High and Moore’s Business College.
Monnie’s marriage to Adolph “Pete” Peterson was blessed with a daughter, Judy Ann in 1936, following her parents’ representation of S.C. Johnson’s at the Century of Progress in Chicago (1934).
On August 28, 1943, she and Leon C. “Bud” Reiher were married by the late Reverend Kenneth Hurst who also baptized their son, James Colgan Reiher, born on August 3, 1944. They spent almost 25 wonderful years together before his passing on May 23, 1968. Bud’s daughter, Doreen Millman lives in Westminster, CO.
Renewal of a long-time friendship led to marriage to Charles “Chuck” Mohrbacher on October 7, 1972, in Key Biscayne, FL, which ended all too soon with his death in 1979. His daughter Trina lives in Ottawa, IL with her husband, Tim Creedon, and her two daughters, Morgan (Chicago) and Latham (USN).
Monnie volunteered at both St. Luke’s and St. Mary’s Hospitals, and with Betty Miller, co-chaired the first talent committee for Cardiac Capers, which she named. She was active in the Children’s Theatre with the late Fae Krause, “The Puppet Lady,” performing in schools, churches, and other organizations. In Fort Lauderdale, she made tapes for Insight for the Blind to help the visually handicapped, who received them at no cost. Monnie was also a member of the National Honor Society, The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., Preservation Racine, and The Racine Literacy Council.
In 1996, Monnie competed in the Miss Senior Wisconsin pageant at Horlick High School where she performed her favorite dance, the Charleston. Quoting the Racine Journal Times, she “wowed the crowd as she swung her pearls and did the Charleston in her jazzy red flapper dress.” At 83, she won the Lillian Gutknecht Award for being the oldest contestant. She told the crowd, “I believe in the three ‘R’s. Respect, Responsibility and Resourcefulness.” And with a wink, “Oh, one more. Romance.”
Survived by daughter Judy (Peterson) Vance Siebert (Tom) of Racine; son James C. Reiher and friend Paula Larsen of Delafield, WI; grandsons, Jefferson Vance, Racine, Joshua Christian Reiher, Madison, WI; granddaughters, Cindi Smith (Mike), Racine, Shiloh Roehl (Dan), Alexandria, VA, Alissa King (Matt), Portland, OR; great-grandson, Paul Vance (Rhonda), Racine, Lucas Roehl, Alexandria, VA; great-great-granddaughters, Jodi Vance and Haley Ann Vance.
Preceded in death besides her parents, husbands, and sister, are son-in-law Paul Vance; and daughter-in-law, Sally Spurgeon Reiher; numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and other family members, not forgetting dear friends, as well.
Relatives and friends may meet with the family on Wednesday, December 30, 2009, at Maresh-Meredith Funeral Home, 803 Main St., from 11 a.m. until the time of Memorial Service at noon. In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated to The Racine Literacy Council or a favorite charity.
MARESH-MEREDITH AND ACKLAM FUNERAL HOME
803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888