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Tommie J. Brey

February 23, 1936 August 12, 2020
Tommie J. Brey
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Obituary for Tommie J. Brey

Tommie J. Brey (nee Harmening), 84, of Park Ridge, IL died on August 12, 2020. She was born in Maypearl, Texas on February 23, 1936 to William and Cora Harmening. In addition to her parents, she is predeceased by her husband, William E. Brey, her infant son, William Brey and her two sisters, Billie Elizabeth Phillips and Mary Frances Claunch as well as her in-laws, William and Jennie Sue (Boyd) Brey. She is survived by her two daughters, Susan (Dan) Reinhardt and Laura Brey and her three grandchildren, Jenna Marie, Samuel William, and Ethan Thomas Reinhardt, all of Oak Park, IL.

Tommie was valedictorian of her Maypearl High School class. She then went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, TX and her Master’s degree in English from The University of North Texas in Denton, TX, both bestowed with honors. She and her husband, Bill, moved to Park Ridge, IL in 1968 where she was a middle school educator for 30 years at both Lincoln and Emerson Middle Schools. While her daughters weren’t wild about their mom teaching in the very same school district that they attended, it didn’t seem to bother her in the least. She was there first, she always said! In addition to her long teaching career, Tommie was also the Department Head of English and the union representative. In her spare time, she also taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to newly-arrived immigrants and led a creative writing group of her peers.
Tommie and Bill loved Park Ridge and the life-long friends they made there but after 30 years, it was time to head south again – this time to Mt. Dora, FL. Over the next 20 years, they made even more friends while golfing, traveling and enjoying the sunshine. And she kept teaching ESL too. She said she found it too rewarding to stop.

A private service was held on Friday, August 21 at Town of Maine Cemetery in Park Ridge. In remembrance of Tommie Brey, the life-long educator and writer, please consider a donation in her name to the English Department at Texas Wesleyan University (txwes.edu, Giving).

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