Mary Gruber

January 23, 1938November 7, 2013

Mary G. Gruber Williamston, Michigan

Mary Gruber our mother, grandmother, great grandmother, dear friend but most importantly our teacher passed away Thursday November 7, 2013. She went quietly surrounded by the family that loved and adored her. As she passed a beautiful sunrise spread across the fields and farms where she had spent most of her 75 years.

Mary Gruber was born January 25, 1938 in Hillsdale, Michigan the only child of Helen (Rogers) Gettings and Harold Gettings. The one thing she said she always wished she had was a brother or a sister. Absent that she instead spent her life and considerable energy reaching out to others to embrace and share her special spirit.

Mary attended Hillsdale High School and then Michigan State University where she focused on her lifelong dream of being an elementary school teacher like her mother before her. She taught two years for Bath Consolidated Schools before taking a job teaching fifth grade in Webberville.

Mary taught 28 years in Webberville. She embraced the community and the students and staff made her part of their family. She was tough and demanding in the classroom pushing kids to reach deeper, push harder and find something inside themselves they often didn’t know they had. Her passion to push the ‘good students’ was usually eclipsed by her compassion for those that needed more. Mary spent countless hours after school, on weekends and even during her vacations to tutor kids who had difficulty with reading and writing. Her dedication to these children was based on doing the right thing and truly caring about what happens to people. She rarely was paid for these countless hours spent to promote literacy. She didn’t do it for the money. She didn’t teach for the money. She taught because she believed if she could help those kids she would make them better people. She was right. Not a week goes by even now that her sons aren’t approached by someone asking “Is Mrs. Gruber your mom?” The next line is as predictable as the sunrise itself. “You know she was the best teacher we ever had.”

Her love of books and education was surpassed only by the love for her family. Her three sons Shane (Susan), Scott and Steve were always at the center of her thoughts. Her ten grandchildren and one grandchild (and one on the way) brought her incredible joy.

Many years after retiring however Mary began to teach the greatest lesson of her life for all who would see. She taught that lesson to her last day. Be joyful and be thankful for the blessings you have. Do not be bitter or resentful no matter what challenges come your way. Smile and never hold a grudge for there is too much to celebrate. Mary was struck down by a severe stroke in March 2001. The woman who had spent her life reaching out to others to help them read could not do so herself. The woman with a Masters Degree in Education from Michigan State University struggled with simple words. Her love of knitting had been stolen as well. Mary did not give up. She smiled and became a favorite for those working with her to help her regain some of what she had lost. Though she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair and in the care of others she was never angry. Slowly with her infectious smile and laugh she worked her way back. She learned to crochet. She travelled with friends and family and took great joy in seeing ‘her boys’ and her grandchildren. We often marveled at how happy she was each day. We often wonder how many people that are struck down so cruelly and unfairly early in life would take it all in stride like she did. It made us proud to look at her example of how to live your life. How to treat people. How to live with joy no matter what happens. Her faith in Christ was always the guiding beacon and her anchor in difficult times. It may have been said loosely on occasion but make no mistake Mary touched everyone around her and was an inspiration for all to see.

Beema we will all miss you dearly and today we weep because you are gone. We are however better people with bigger hearts with greater passion and brighter spirits because we were blessed to have you in our lives. Mom you were the best teacher we ever had too! Thank you.

The funeral service will be held Monday November 11th 2013 at 11:00 at University Reformed Church, 841 Timberlane St. East Lansing, MI 48823. The family will receive friends Sunday from 2-4pm and 6-8pm at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home, 205 E. Middle St. Williamston, MI 48895, and one hour prior to service at the church. In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make contributions to; Webberville Elementary School Library Fund, 202 N. Main St. Webberville, MI 48892.


  • Funeral Service Monday, November 11, 2013
  • Visitation Sunday, November 10, 2013
  • Visitation Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mary Gruber

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Janet (Webster) Eidt

November 13, 2013

Mrs. Gruber was my 3rd grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade teacher, and has been special to me through all of these years. I have had the pleasure of being able to visit with her at Haven of Rest regularly where she and my Grandmother both lived. She loved telling others that she had me for three years, teasing that I was held back! She always had a smile, even in October when I last visited with her. She was always reading a book in the dining room or crocheting in her room when I saw her. What a great example she continued to be as she lived with her challenges. I will always have fond memories of a very special Teacher and person. My thoughts and prayers are with the Gruber family in their great loss. She will always have a special place in my heart.

Joseph Schneider

November 11, 2013

Mrs. Gruber was my 5th grade teacher and I loved her dearly. She could have had me repeat the 5th grade, could have discouraged my strong personality but instead nurtured and guided me to be a better person. I think I was one of her favorites, so I got away with a lot. I am so very grateful she came into my life at the perfect time. She was one of my favorites and will be fondly remembered by me. Condolences to a great family.

Linda Blankenship

November 11, 2013

I only got to meet Mary one time, at Kenny and Emily's wedding, but my mother often told me how much she enjoyed time spent with her. Her faith in the Lord was not hidden, and what a legacy to leave in touching so many lives and giving so much of herself to others. A beautiful example to all of us!

Jason Hath

November 11, 2013

Rip Mrs Gruber. You were a great teacher and you will be missed greatly by everyone that you knew.

Luci Buchanan

November 10, 2013

condolences to family members & all of her friends!! got acquainted with Mary about 1995 while attending University Reformed Church, East Lansing, MI~~ we spent many wonderful lunches together after the morning worship service.... she will be greatly missed.

November 10, 2013

We are so sorry for your loss. While we did not have the honor of ever meeting Mrs. Gruber, we feel as if we knew her, thanks to the stories her son Steve has shared with us. It is clear she was a wonderful, thoughtful mother, teacher, and friend and will be dearly missed.

Terry and Jo Anne Stanton and family

David & Linda Fitzke

November 10, 2013

We are so very sorry to hear of Mary's passing. We met Mary when our Mom Joy Sheffer was living at the same adult foster care. Mary always had a friendly smile and greeting. Whether arriving or leaving, if the sun was out and it was warm; you could count on seeing & chatting with Mary out on the front porch while she crocheted. Her positive attitude and friendly spirit was a true inspiration. Our deepest sympathies to Mary's family, she will be missed by many.

Christine Callaghan

November 9, 2013

I have so many wonderful memories of Mrs. Gruber. Such a funny, strong, smart lady. So sorry to here she has left us.

Melissa Bird

November 9, 2013

So sorry for your loss. Grandma Gruber was an amazing lady. I loved when she came into our class to read to us. Thank you so much Katie, and the rest of the family for sharing such an amazing lady with our community. I'm so happy I got to work with her at Haven while I was there. May she rest in peace. Love you all. <3

Sue Hilla Clifford

November 9, 2013

So sorry for your loss. Praying God's peace and comfort for your family.
Sue Hilla Clifford