Mary Kate Bell Brearley Glasser

September 3, 1925June 27, 2019

Mary Kate Bell Brearley Glasser, 93, died peacefully on June 27, 2019, surrounded by her four loving children. Born in Florence, South Carolina, on September 3, 1925, she was the daughter of the late Caldwell Claude and Iola Mary Rogers Bell of Guthriesville, SC. She made her Profession of Faith on May 12, 1935, at Bethesda Presbyterian Church in York, SC. In 1942, she graduated from Marion High School and then earned a Business Education degree from Winthrop College in 1946. From an early age, Mary Kate felt a strong faith and a call to teaching, and her life has been one of teaching in the home, the church, the school and the community.

After college graduation, Mary Kate taught business in Allendale, SC, where she met, and in 1948 married, the local Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Dr. Cecil DuBose Brearley, Jr. In the 1950’s, the couple had four children on their journey to more than 51 years of marriage until Cecil passed away in 2000.

In her second career, Mary Kate earned an elementary certification and M.Ed. in Exceptional Children and taught at Logan Orthopedic School and the School for Hearing Impaired at Brennan Elementary. She then became South Carolina’s first principal of a school for students aged 3 – 21 with special needs, Fairwold School in Richland One. In 1977, she was awarded Special Educator of the Year by the SC Council for Exceptional Children.

After her retirement in 1987, Mary Kate supervised clinical students at Columbia College and served on the Board of Visitors at Presbyterian College. She often recounted with pleasure the privilege of teaching students from kindergarten through college. Mary Kate played an active role in the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, serving at the chapter, state and international levels. She was State President during the 50th anniversary of Alpha Eta State (SC) and later received the Alpha Eta State Achievement Award and the Order of the Rose. Mary Kate was also a member of Kappa Kappa Iota and was awarded the Upsilon State Distinguished Educator Emeritus Award in 1992.

After many years of worship, teaching Sunday School and serving as circle leader, Mary Kate was awarded a Women of the Church Life Membership at Forest Lake Presbyterian Church. Later, Mary Kate became a member at Dutch Fork ARP Church, served as President of the Women of the Church and was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the Women of the Church. She also served as Vice President and President of Catawba Presbyterial. Mary Kate then joined Arsenal Hill ARP Church and served as circle leader and President of the Women’s Ministries Board.

In 2002, Mary Kate married Floyd Glasser, welcoming two step-daughters, Dianne Glasser and Janet (Bill) Wallace. Even though Floyd only lived 3 and ½ more years, Mary Kate referred to their marriage as being like a honeymoon.

Mary Kate was recognized as the SC Mother of the Year in 2008. When asked to write her legacy in 20 words or less, Mary Kate wrote, “Love the Lord and all His children. Count your blessings and be thankful. Do your best and never give up.” She believed that each child is a gift from God, that the most important thing a mother can give her child is her time, and that faith and education can never be taken away from children.

Mary Kate always gave God the glory and praise for anything she did on this earth. She will be remembered for her radiant smile, her persistent optimism, her devotion to family and her dedication to God’s service. Mary Kate always thought of others first and delighted in bringing joy to all those around her. She enjoyed spending time with family and friends, going on the annual Brearley Beach Week, preparing and giving devotionals and teas, playing Rook and traveling.

She is survived by four children: Dr. William DuBose (Cheryl) Brearley of Lexington, SC; the Reverend Robert Montgomery (Mary Ann) Brearley of St. Simons Island, GA; Margaret Brearley (John) Mitchum of Columbia, SC; and the Reverend Doctor John Cecil (Tammy) Brearley of Myrtle Beach, SC. She is also by ten grandchildren: Will (Kennah) Brearley, James Brearley, David (Carolyn) Brearley, Jenny (David) Cooper, Meg (Paul) Greathouse, Kate (Stuart) Buckley, Hannah (Justin) Meade, Lauren (Spencer) Benton, Michael (Erin) Brearley and Caroline Brearley. She was known as "KK" and loved by fifteen great-grandchildren: Bennett Brearley, English Jane Buckley, Walker Brearley, Evie Mae Buckley, Claire Cooper, William Brearley, Ella Brearley, Jack Brearley, Ben Buckley, Natalie Cooper, Ellis Brearley, Lewis Greathouse, Addy Bell Brearley, Henry Benton and Bo Meade. She dearly loved many extended family members.

In addition to her parents and husbands, Mary Kate was preceded in death by her brother, Caldwell Bell.

A visitation will be held at Dunbar Funeral Home, Dutch Fork Chapel, on Sunday, June 30, from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. A Service of Thanksgiving will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC, on Monday, July 1, at 11:00 a.m. A reception will be held in Jackson Hall following the service. A private burial will be held in Bush River Memorial Gardens.

Memorials may be directed to the Brearley-Rogers Endowed Scholarship at Winthrop University Foundation, 302 Tillman Hall, Rock Hill, SC 29733 or to Arsenal Hill Presbyterian Church, 1103 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

The family would like to thank Lexington Medical Center and NHC Lexington for their wonderful and compassionate care for Mary Kate in recent times.


  • Visitation

    Sunday, June 30, 2019

  • Service of Thanksgiving

    Monday, July 1, 2019


Mary Kate Bell Brearley Glasser

have a memory or condolence to add?

Margaret Kitchens

July 7, 2019

Dear Margaret and siblings, I was sad to read about your mother’s death. I was immediately flooded with the wonderful memories she gave me as a child growing up in your home. She was so kind, nurturing, and always giving. I think of her and your family with many fond and loving memories.
Margaret Kitchens

Hank Montgomery

June 30, 2019

Mary Kate is part of my earliest memories. She will be missed and remembered by me, and by SO many others....

Gary Johnson

June 30, 2019

Ms. Mary Kate has been an adopted part of my family for decades. She has always brought a smile and genuine warmth to me, my wife, and our two sons. She will be missed and remembered.

Judy Humphries

June 30, 2019

Mary Kate was one of the most gracious, uplifting, strong and humble women I have ever met. We had only a few times of talking on her porch even though we were neighbors, but I was able to see how special she was and how much she loved her family and her beach time!! I know she will be greatly missed but her memories will be with her family forever!! Truly a matriarch!!! May God give you all peace and comfort at this time.

Lillie & Roy Smith

June 29, 2019

Doctor William Brearley,
Our deepest condolences to you and your family .
You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Lillie & Roy Smith

Judy Medlin

June 28, 2019

Kappa Kappa Iota, both Eta Chapter and Upsilon state, join Mary Kate's family and friends in our sadness at her death. She always welcomed us and made us feel loved and her knowledge and experience greatly enriched our organization. She is now a part of the Omega Chapter.

Jacqueline Bell

June 27, 2019

I am in Alabama mourning the loss of this very special lady. I so loved her. And loved the years I was able to call her my sister. She enriched my life, and made me a better person. Katie and I are both crying remembering the visits to SC we had with her and the family. They were so special to us. We were a “unknown” to her and the family, but they welcomed us with open arms. Mary Kate made us feel loved by her, from the very beginning. I so regret that we did not have more time with her. Katie said through tears, “Mama, she came to my soccer games!”
Margaret, John, and to you all, we are so sorry....and grieving with you. We love you all. And we dearly loved Mary Kate!
Jackie and Katie Bell

Pamela Walker

June 27, 2019

I will always remember your loved one as an elegant, highly intelligent individual. She was so welcoming to me when I was initiated into the Delta Kappa Gamma Society. Heaven has gained a lovely angel. May your sweet memories of her bring you peace .

Sincere condolences,
Pamela "Pam" Walker
Beta Beta

Sally Dunbar

June 27, 2019

Please accept my heartfelt sympathies upon the loss of your mother, sweet Mary Kate.
Please know the Beta Beta sisters have you in their hearts and send their love.
Sally Dunbar


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