Mary Beth Brom


Mary Beth Brom passed away, surrounded by members of her family, on Aug. 13, 2012, at Hospice Care of Boulder and Broomfield Counties in Boulder, Colo.,  after a 40-year journey with multiple sclerosis and a later onset of Parkinson’s disease. Her gentleness, laughter, and brave spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved her.
Mary Beth was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Sept. 8, 1955, to Robert Harold and Beverly Jane (Trout) Brom, and was the third of four children. The family moved to Boulder in 1959 and Mary Beth attended elementary and high school there, graduating from Fairview High School in 1973. For three summers after high school, she worked as a camp counselor at Camp Cheley, an experience that sparked her love for children and the natural world. Hikes with the Colorado Mountain Club further deepened her love of wild places and the mountains.
From 1973 to 1975 she attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and studied anthropology under the direction of Dr. George Fay. Her fascination with the worlds of indigenous people set her on an extraordinary life journey. In 1978, she moved to Alaska to work on with the U.S. Forest Service on one of the major archaeological studies conducted in Southeast Alaska at the site of the Hidden Falls hatchery in Kasnyku Bay on eastern Baranof Island. Follow-up work at the Forest Service archaeology lab kept her in Sitka for four years. Among her many Sitka friends were Rebecca Frank and her family, members of the Tlingit Dog Salmon clan, who adopted her.
Mary Beth left Sitka in 1982 in her beloved “Wheelhouse”—a 1953 GMC pickup with a finely-finished camper on the back that served off and on as her home for a number of years. In the mid-1980’s her anthropological interests took her to Mexico where she developed a keen interest in Mayan people and culture.
She returned to Alaska for seasonal jobs, including several years cooking on crab boats in the Bering Sea. Eventually Bellingham, Wash., became her home base between trips to work with the indigenous women and children of Chiapas, Mexico, in their struggle against government paramilitary forces. In the mid-1990’s she returned to academics and received her bachelor’s degree at Fairhaven College in 1998.
All who knew Mary Beth acknowledged her as a spirit unlike any other. She loved what was wild and magical and mysterious and beautiful about the world. She was alive to life’s adventures and possibilities rather than its limitations, even through her life-long illness. Her generosity and kindness touched not only friends and family, but many people of different backgrounds and cultures, and she always felt she learned more from others than she gave.
She will be dearly missed by her son Alejandro Quezada Brom of Bellingham, Wash. and his extended family in Mexico; her mother Beverly Brom of Boulder, Colo.; her siblings: Rob (Linda), Pam (Gary) and Jon (Sherry); and her many friends.
Celebrations of her life will be held next spring in Bellingham and Sitka. Memorial contributions may be sent to Boulder Broomfield Colorado Hospice and Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, Dr. Timothy D. Vollmer.

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