June 8, 2022

Danielle Brecker
3 min readDec 26, 2022

During the night last night my Mom away.

Barbara Ann Nolan Brecker was born on April 7, 1946 in Buffalo, NY. She grew up poor in a small town in western Pennsylvania with four siblings. After high school she headed to State College, PA for opportunity and a better future.

In State College, my Mom worked at a department store called Penn Traffic selling lingerie and Estée Lauder cosmetics. Perhaps this is where I inherited my love of fancy lingerie and passion for all things beauty.

At Penn Traffic my Mom met my Dad who worked there selling shoes while finishing college.

They were married on August 31, 1969. They were married for almost 53 years.

I came in 1970. It was a different era, my Mom didn’t go back to work until I was 11.

Two weeks to the day that my Mom turned 24 she gave birth to me. When I was 24 I wasn’t ready to be married and have a baby. IDK if my Mom was either but she took on motherhood with full commitment and love.

My Mom was a great organizer — of our household, with women’s groups, for my school trips, prom, etc, she knocked doors for my Dad and other local candidates, she made elaborate family gatherings.

She always believed in what was possible and then did the work to make it happen.

When I started looking at colleges my sophomore year of high school, my Mom was inspired to go back to school and get a college degree. She started with three classes at what was then called Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences.

My Mom loved going to college, going to class, learning, discussing. I don’t think it was what she thought she would study when she started but she loved accounting and graduated with a B.S. in accounting and worked in that field for the rest of her career.

I think it was brave for my Mom to go back to school. She was entering a whole new world and didn’t necessarily have the confidence that she would succeed but she did it anyway and she did it with full commitment and passion. And she succeeded.

That was how my Mom lived her life and raised me. To keep trying, to keep believing in what is possible, to keep moving forward with passion, commitment, and love. My Mom unwaveringly believed in me, in what I could do, and instilled that belief in me.

In her final years she had a rare blood cancer. It was mangeable at first but then became unmanageable and treatment as harmful and painful as the disease. Today my Mom is at peace.

Everyday, I am of Barbara Ann Nolan Brecker. She will always be part of me, with me.

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Danielle Brecker

New York State Democratic Committee Member AD-36, Co-lead Organizer Empire State Indivisible, Chair Queens Community Board 2, Board Member New Reformers.