On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, Mary Elizabeth "Bette" Brocato passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family.
Bette was born in 1934 to the late Herbert & Gertrude Brown and resided in the Baltimore area all her life. She was the beloved wife of the late Dr. Louis Brocato. Bette is survived by her loving children; Patti (Dan) Brocato-Simons, Brennie Brocato-Whitney, April (Tommy) Thomas, Michelle (Greg) Wright, Judi (John) Beyer and Chris (Shari) Brocato, her brother John Brown, as well as 12 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and dear family friend and colleague, Father Joe Bochenek. Along with her parents and husband, Bette was preceded in death by her siblings; Herbert, Jr., Theodore, and Frank Brown.
Family will receive friends on Sunday, January 26, 2020, from 1PM to 7PM with a Prayer Service and remembrances offered at 6PM at Hubbard Funeral Home, 4107 Wilkens Ave., Baltimore, 21229.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, January 27th at 10AM at Ascension Catholic Church, 4603 Poplar Ave., Halethorpe, MD 21227. Interment will follow for family in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Baltimore, MD. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society and the St. Agnes Foundation Cancer Institute.
Bette burst into in this world on a cold December day like a blazing comet – a comet that never lost its sparkle and intensity until she took her last breath. Bette grew up as the big sister, surrogate Mom to 4 lively younger brothers, and no time or aging ever altered that loving, nurturing role. She attended St. Catherine’s primary school and Catholic High, consistently involving herself in numerous academic and extracurricular events while retaining straight A grades throughout. “Involving herself” is really a mischaracterization. Anything Bette touched she took over and led with a vengeance, with grace, with diligence and hard work, and always, always, with style.
Bette met her childhood sweetheart, Lou, at St. Catherine’s and the rest was history. They married young on June 12, 1954, and went on to welcome five daughters and one son, replicating the happy, bustling home Bette grew up in and so loved. They were a formidable pair - both smart, energetic, Type A, hard workers, outgoing, born leaders, loving, compassionate, tireless, and devout. They built their second home in the Wynnewood neighborhood in Halethorpe in 1960 and went on to immerse themselves into everything they touched – the children’s schools and activities, bowling league coach, CCD teacher, Wynnewood Community Association and pool board, Arbutus 4th of July parade, SWES Charitable Organization, countless religious certifications and events, and so much more.
Bette worked in the medical field briefly but her passion was her faith and her church. The majority of her professional career was with the Archdiocese of Baltimore in numerous leadership positions from Our Lady of Victory, Halethorpe, to St. Clements, Rosedale; and culminating in March, 2018 when she finally retired at age 83 as pastoral associate at St. Brigid’s Canton under Pastor Joseph Bochenek. Bette loved St. Brigid’s, and nurtured it like everything else in her life. From day-to-day operating decisions to church events and fundraisers, church decorations and mass details, congregation outreach, Headstart, the Pregnancy Center, and bible school programs, the annual Preakness fundraiser, budgetary issues, leaky pipes, roofs, and no electricity, there was no aspect she didn’t touch.
Bette was an old-fashioned, hands-on woman who hated technology, especially texting and social media - as she reminded her children often. She wrote out annual Christmas cards with personal notes, and sent cards to her loved ones throughout the year, just to let them know she was thinking of them. She was forever the bearer of gifts, and got tremendous pleasure out of doing so; whether making a purchase, buying a meal, or showing kindness to a complete stranger.
Bette was diagnosed with cancer in October, 2017. She attended every doctor’s visit bearing gifts for the staff, downplaying her symptoms, and looking like a million bucks. The last few months she replaced her love for shopping with her beloved 'judge' shows, Dancing with the Stars, and HGTV. She fought the battle bravely with grace, dignity, and strength until the very end, on a cold, clear, and very sunny January afternoon with all her children present - no doubt planning that timing to a tee.
We will miss her sparkle each and every day, but have no fear it was infectious. All who knew her will carry a bit of that energy and shine with them forever, and what a beautiful legacy it is that she left for us.
We love you to the moon and back Mama.
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