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Mary Altie Caffey Brookhart

December 24, 1930 August 23, 2023
Mary Altie Caffey Brookhart
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Obituary for Mary Altie Caffey Brookhart

Mary Altie Caffey Brookhart (family called her ‘Mary Altie’) passed away while holding hands with her two children on Wednesday, August 23rd. She was 92 years old. Mary was born at home during a blizzard in Tennessee on December 24, 1930. She was the youngest child of Lavada Cates and Delbert Calvin Caffey who together with her older sister, Marjorie Dean, preceded her in death. She was reared in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Mary graduated from Rutherford County Central High School in the Spring of 1949 and entered George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee (now part of Vanderbilt University) the following Fall. She was awarded a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Teacher’s Certificate in 1954.

In 1954 Mary married Charles Edward Brookhart (“Ed”) of Crossville, Tennessee whom she met while attending college. They were planning to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on October 23, 2014 when Edward passed away on July 21, 2014. During her high school and college years, Mary Altie was an organist for the First Baptist church in Murfreesboro as well as several churches in Nashville. She also taught in public schools in Nashville, Tennessee until 1958 when she and her husband moved to Austin, Texas where he joined the faculty of the Music Department of the University of Texas and she taught in the public schools.

In 1975 they moved to Manhattan, KS where Dr. Brookhart accepted a position as senior Professor of Music Education at Kansas State University where he worked until retiring in 1990. Retirement years were spent in Colorado and Texas and since 2006 in Kansas. Mary is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia and Dana Yarnell of De Soto, KS; her son and daughter-in-law Charles F. and Kristie L. Brookhart of Wahoo, Nebraska; and her grandson Dalton C. Brookhart of Flower Mound, Texas.

Mary lived independently and continued to drive a car, text and order groceries online until the age of 91 when she moved to Hillside Village in De Soto, Kansas in the fall of 2022. She valued her family above all else and sacrificed a full scholarship for a master’s degree in music and a career as a concert pianist to raise her family. She was generous to a fault.  Mary loved family, children, nature, music, animals, reading, watching basketball (she played in high school), swimming, biscuits and gravy and anything sweet; especially, carrot or coconut cake. She tolerated watching football for the rest of the family’s sake. Once Ed passed, she enjoyed watching old movies, more basketball (he had preferred football), the original Magnum P.I. (of all things), the Weather Channel and Hallmark movies. Her heart was huge and she will be missed tremendously.

No memorial service is planned at this time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Great Plains SPCA

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Memorial Contribution

Great Plains SPCA

5424 Antioch Drive
Merriam, KS 66202

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