Virginia Beach- Mary Elizabeth Duke Broom, 75, died peacefully in her sleep on January 29, 2018. Born on November 27, 1942, in Beaver, OK, to Edwin and Alice Duke, Mary grew up mostly in Oxnard, CA, and often said that the best part of high school was drag racing after class.
Mary loved striking up conversations with strangers and that’s how she met her husband of 56 years, Thad A. Broom, Jr. On vacation in Key West, she arrived early to meet her date and saw a soldier sitting by himself at the bar. She bought that soldier a drink and they were married 6 weeks later. Together they lived in Germany and France before settling down in Virginia Beach, VA.
Mary was known to several generations of children as “Miss Mary,” either from her time as a pre-school teacher at Grace Lutheran Church or from the swimming lessons she gave in her backyard pool in Lake Christopher. If you knew Mary then you would agree that she was a born charmer with a quick wit and a dirty mind. She loved orchids and beach chairs and babies and ice skating. She was happiest in her backyard, usually surrounded by friends and telling stories of her world travels.
Mary is survived, and missed dearly, by her husband, Thad, her daughter, Deborah Broom, her son, Gregory Broom, her grandson, Jayme Pounders and her son-in-law, Ricardo Bairos. She is also survived by her sister, Nancy Ell, brother, Lawrence Duke, her sisters-in law Claudia Hendren and Joyce Broom, her brother-in-law, Robert Broom, her nieces, Sonya Hendren, Katherine Ell and Kristine Ell, and her nephews Patrick Ell, Robert Ell, and Lawrence Hendren.
Mary was a feminist who believed in equality and fairness for all and and would tell anyone who disagreed with her to “get a grip!”. She was patiently waiting for the legalization of marijuana. Please toast her with whatever makes you feel good. A memorial will be held in the Spring and the family asks that, in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations be made in her name to the Arthritis National Research Foundation (https://www.curearthritis.org).