Mary G. Gruber
Mary Gruber our mother, grandmother, great grandmother, dear friend but most importantly our teacher passed away Thursday November 7, 2013. She went quietly surrounded by the family that loved and adored her. As she passed a beautiful sunrise spread across the fields and farms where she had spent most of her 75 years.
Mary Gruber was born January 25, 1938 in Hillsdale, Michigan the only child of Helen (Rogers) Gettings and Harold Gettings. The one thing she said she always wished she had was a brother or a sister. Absent that she instead spent her life and considerable energy reaching out to others to embrace and share her special spirit.
Mary attended Hillsdale High School and then Michigan State University where she focused on her lifelong dream of being an elementary school teacher like her mother before her. She taught two years for Bath Consolidated Schools before taking a job teaching fifth grade in Webberville.
Mary taught 28 years in Webberville. She embraced the community and the students and staff made her part of their family. She was tough and demanding in the classroom pushing kids to reach deeper, push harder and find something inside themselves they often didn't know they had. Her passion to push the 'good students' was usually eclipsed by her compassion for those that needed more. Mary spent countless hours after school, on weekends and even during her vacations to tutor kids who had difficulty with reading and writing. Her dedication to these children was based on doing the right thing and truly caring about what happens to people. She rarely was paid for these countless hours spent to promote literacy. She didn't do it for the money. She didn't teach for the money. She taught because she believed if she could help those kids she would make them better people. She was right. Not a week goes by even now that her sons aren't approached by someone asking "Is Mrs. Gruber your mom?" The next line is as predictable as the sunrise itself. "You know she was the best teacher we ever had."
Her love of books and education was surpassed only by the love for her family. Her three sons Shane (Susan), Scott and Steve were always at the center of her thoughts. Her ten grandchildren and one grandchild (and one on the way) brought her incredible joy.
Many years after retiring however Mary began to teach the greatest lesson of her life for all who would see. She taught that lesson to her last day. Be joyful and be thankful for the blessings you have. Do not be bitter or resentful no matter what challenges come your way. Smile and never hold a grudge for there is too much to celebrate. Mary was struck down by a severe stroke in March 2001. The woman who had spent her life reaching out to others to help them read could not do so herself. The woman with a Masters Degree in Education from Michigan State University struggled with simple words. Her love of knitting had been stolen as well. Mary did not give up. She smiled and became a favorite for those working with her to help her regain some of what she had lost. Though she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair and in the care of others she was never angry. Slowly with her infectious smile and laugh she worked her way back. She learned to crochet. She travelled with friends and family and took great joy in seeing 'her boys' and her grandchildren. We often marveled at how happy she was each day. We often wonder how many people that are struck down so cruelly and unfairly early in life would take it all in stride like she did. It made us proud to look at her example of how to live your life. How to treat people. How to live with joy no matter what happens. Her faith in Christ was always the guiding beacon and her anchor in difficult times. It may have been said loosely on occasion but make no mistake Mary touched everyone around her and was an inspiration for all to see.
Beema we will all miss you dearly and today we weep because you are gone. We are however better people with bigger hearts with greater passion and brighter spirits because we were blessed to have you in our lives. Mom you were the best teacher we ever had too! Thank you.
The funeral service will be held Monday November 11th 2013 at 11:00 at University Reformed Church, 841 Timberlane St. East Lansing, MI 48823. The family will receive friends Sunday from 2-4pm and 6-8pm at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home, 205 E. Middle St. Williamston, MI 48895, and one hour prior to service at the church. In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make contributions to; Webberville Elementary School Library Fund, 202 N. Main St. Webberville, MI 48892.