Obituary for Marie Anna Brennen Ackerman
Marie Anna Brennen Ackerman, age 94, died peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. She was born to John Leo and Mary (Cava) Brennen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 25, 1923. She is preceded in death by her parents and husband Alfred Mark Ackerman; left to cherish her memory is daughter Merilyn Ackerman; daughter Marian Ackerman; son Mark Ackerman; daughter Annie Vuoso; brother Ronald Frieter; cousin Gilbert Yanuzzi; 11 grandchildren and numerous extended family and friends. An adventurous and courageous woman, Marie Ackerman was a member of the first graduating class of Little Flower Catholic High School in Philadelphia in June 1941. The Sisters who taught her encouraged her to think for herself and search out the truth. She used that encouragement and passed it on to everyone she met all through her life. She never stopped her search for knowledge, took many college classes in areas of interest from small engine repair to geology.
Shortly after high school, as our country joined in WWII, Marie took a job as a riveter, making wings for fighter planes while her husband Alfred Ackerman was at sea with the Merchant Marines. At this time, Marie fell in love with the idea of flying, but being too young to help deliver planes for the government, her dream of flying was put on hold for the next 30 years.
Marie had 3 children (plus one unofficially adopted daughter), 11 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and 9 great-great grandchildren, all who love her dearly and are grateful for the love she shared and the many things she taught them. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, passed away in 1966. But, Marie was resilient, and she instilled in her children the joy of learning and discovery.
She continued to work as a civil servant for most of her life, winning many awards for creativity and inventiveness. Interspersed between these government jobs were periods when she owned her own cafés, was dispatcher for a police department, and purchased homes to remodel and resell (making a nice profit).
At the age of 45, she realized her dream of flying, taking lessons while working at Hamilton Air Force Base in California. Five years later, she went to Alaska, completed a course in Lifeboatmanship Training and gained her Seaman’s license. She so enjoyed Alaska, she hired onto a crab processing ship in the Bering Sea during the crabbing season, and won the hearts of all aboard.
After leaving Alaska, Marie bought a large house in Maine and with the help of her children, remodeled it, added a café, and later sold it as a bed-and-breakfast. Shortly afterward, she retired from work, but not from adventure. She bought a motorhome and began her travels across the country as a full-time RVer making many new friends along the way.
Her major piece of advice was “Everything will work out, have faith - put your problems in God’s hands and trust Him with them.” Another piece of advice was to support the public library. “If you want to know how to do something, read a book!”
On a lighter note, she was a fan of Star Trek. She even had an RV model called the Enterprise. She found a picture of the Starship and the words “to bravely go...” and placed them across the bow of her motorhome. She has gone many places novel to women and helped open many doors for other women. She was full of fun and laughter, an explorer, an adventurer our hero and a candle burning brightly for future generations. We miss her dearly.