August 31, 1932 – August 1, 2020
Longtime North Bend resident, Meriel Ellen Brecke, known to everyone as Sally, died August 1, 2020 at age 87, just one month shy of her 88th birthday. She was born in Clatskanie, Oregon to John and Myrle (Baker) Running of Westport, Oregon. She was the only girl with three older brothers, Johnny (Shaffer), Richard (Betty), and Bud (Joanne). Her little brother, Ger (Sandy) would come along after. She was a longtime resident of North Bend. As a young girl her family lived in Carrolls, Washington before moving back to Westport, Oregon. It was there that she fell in love with Richard “Dick” Brecke and married him in 1950.
While raising her children, she worked at her mother and father’s ceramic studio teaching painting techniques for ceramics. She also worked for a time as a receptionist at the firm of Chandler, Walberg, and Whitty in Coos Bay. Sally and Dick moved to Newberg, Oregon in 1982. While there, Sally became a certified Nurse’s Aide but primarily worked as the Activities Director at a Nursing Home. Back in North Bend after her husband had passed, Sally enjoyed volunteering at the North Bend Information center. She took great joy in telling tourists about her beloved Bay Area.
In North Bend, she was active in Girl Scouts and Cub scouts, PTA, and especially enjoyed working behind the scenes (primarily as an Assistant Director) in plays with Little Theater on the Bay. She took great pride in having worked many productions including Gypsy, Showboat, Angel Street, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and her favorite production, The Pajama Game. She was great at organizing events. Sally held wonderful parties at the family home on Tower Street in North Bend, cribbage gatherings at her father’s in Airport Heights, as well as holiday parties and productions with the Up-n-At ‘ems for senior citizen residents of Hamilton Court. In more recent years, Sally was the chief jam and jelly salesperson at the Coos Bay Farmers Market for the Sticky Spoon Jammers from Bayside Terrace Assisted Living.
Sally is survived by four children, Stanley Brecke (Sherry), Carrie Brecke (Marsha Walker), Norman Brecke (Anne Rutherford), Samantha Brecke; daughter-in-law, Brenda Brecke; her grandchildren Rich Brecke (Meghan), Julie Brecke, Kenny Smith, Dash Ellis, Anika Ellis, Nicolas Brecke, Guinevere Brecke, Zachary Smith, Jordyn Smith, Maxwell Smith; and many great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Dick Brecke; son Vernon Brecke; and grandson Leif Brecke.
Most people who knew her would agree, Sally was a silly, fun, mischievous, creative, and passionate person. She usually preferred a ruckus over calm, crowds over solitude. She loved camping, picnics, scary movies, popular songs from the first half of the 20th century, leisurely Sunday drives, holidays (especially Christmas), and laughter.
A celebration of life will be held in the Bay Area when it is safe and comfortable for everyone to attend.