Mary Elizabeth Stewart Brandt was born in Elkhorn, Wisconsin to Frank and Ruth Stewart. Mary and her brother Robert Stewart grew up on the family farm in Walworth, WI. Her mother taught school while her father farmed.
Mary’s early years exemplified the rural Wisconsin farm life - participating in 4-H, sewing her own clothes and winning a nationwide cherry pie baking contest. She graduated from Walworth High School in 1953, receiving a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
In 1955 she put her formal education on hold and married Michel Brandt. In 1961 they moved their family to a farm house west of Glens Falls, New York, where, together with the Claude and Loraine Brandt family, they founded West Mountain Ski Area. Soon thereafter Paul and Sallie Brandt’s family joined the endeavor.
Mary was instrumental in the establishment and growth of the ski area. She was the “behind the scenes” powerhouse - opening the office early in the morning, overseeing ticket sales, keeping books, and then calling in ski condition reports late at night. For thirty years, she managed the office, while raising five children, several “office dogs” and a goat.
Also during this time, Mary earned the degree she had put on hold. She was proud to complete a night school education and earn her Associate degree from Adirondack Community College .
In 1992 Mary began a new career working for the Adirondack Community College Foundation. In this role she was charged with maintaining financial records, organizing major annual fundraising events, and nurturing relationships in the community. She retired in 2009.
Mary loved cultivating her wild daisy patch. And throughout her life she collected an eclectic mix of friends and objects. She had an eye for beauty, a wry wit, and an unmatched ability to host a damn good party. Her kids say, “Best, and most of all, our mother was thoughtful and supportive of all of our individual paths.”
Mary Elizabeth Stewart Brandt died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Glens Falls Hospital on April 19, 2022 following her annual appearance at the Hadley Easter Walker Procession. She left the world better than she found it.
She leaves behind many true friends and chosen family, including the Afternoon Dial-A-Friend Phone Network and her Corinth Weatherman. She was grateful to be admitted to the Women’s Social Club of Hadley whose members helped her manage her household and celebrate good times.
She was predeceased by her parents, her brother, and her son, Robert (Phred) Brandt.
Mary is survived by her children - Susie Brandt of Baltimore, MD; Betsy Brandt and Andy Van Bourgondien of Lake Luzerne, NY; Tina Brandt and John Snelling of Caldwell ID; and Bill Brandt of Hadley, NY. She is also survived by her granddaughters, Jane Snelling of Meridian, ID and Laura Snelling of Salt Lake City, UT. - and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Memorial Donations may be made to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.
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