Mary Lea Bright
Birth Date: July 19, 1931
Death Date: July 17, 2015
Mary Lea Bright
July 19, 1931 to July 17, 2015
Mary Lea (Farrens-Haire) Bright was born on July 19, 1931 and left us unexpectedly on July 17, 2015 just two days shy of her 84th birthday. She passed away quietly surrounded by her loving family. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Mary Lea grew up in a large family of ten on a farm in Cambridge, Idaho. She was the 4th born child to Glenn and Garnett (Porter) Farrens. Her father affectionately called her “Hoover”. As a teenager she worked as a waitress and other odd jobs to earn enough money to stay in town so she could go to Cambridge High School. She was very popular in High School and everyone called her Lea. She was Secretary of the Student Body, a yell leader and a member of the pep club. She was also elected to be a senator for the Idaho State Youth Legislature. Mary Lea graduated from high school in May of 1950, the first in her family to do so.
Soon after she headed to California with her friend Ruth on a Harley motorcycle to join her sweetheart, Donald Leroy Haire. They were married shortly after her arrival, on June 3, 1950 at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Sacramento, CA. They had five children Deborah, Teresa, Donald, Karen and George before divorcing in 1959.
She married J.R. Bright soon after and they had a daughter, Mary Jo. Jay had two sons Lowell and Phillip from a previous marriage that joined the already large family. They spent 35 years together before he passed away in 1994. After Jay’s death she became very close to Albert Lang, a friend of over 45 years. He had been married to her friend Dorothy who had passed away. They spent nine wonderful years together before his death in 2005. Mary retired in 1986 after working 30 years at the Sacramento Army Depot. She started her career back when it was still called the Sacramento Signal Depot in Production Control. She later transferred to the Information Technology Directorate where she was quite the pioneer. At that time there were very few women who held positions in data processing. Mary worked hard and took classes until she was a Lead Computer Operator, earning the respect of her co-workers and supervisors as well. She was to “Go-To-Girl”. She was able to accomplish all this while raising 6 children.
Mary and Jay lived in Rio Linda, CA for a while then moved to a small ranch in North Highlands, CA. Her love of horses started at an early age. She and her sister Dena would ride every chance they got. She was a gymkhana judge for over 30 years. She belonged to the Ora Linda Horse Club and the California State Horseman’s Association. She served 18 years on the Judges Commission for CSHA and was a Honorary Lifetime Member Judge. She even owned and ran some race horses for a short time.
Mary loved to travel and went on many adventures. She went to Europe with her niece Janice and great niece Trudy. She and her friend Carol traveled to the east coast by the southern route and back to the west coast via the northern route including Alaska and Canada. She particularly loved Hawaii and made many trips there. She took cruises to Alaska & Puerto Rico and even traveled to Pakistan for Mary Jo’s wedding. She went across country with Albert visiting his family and friends. She also made regular trips back to Idaho to see her family and many other trips to Disney World, San Diego, Las Vegas and Reno just to name a few.
One of her favorite pastimes was playing card games & doing the crypto quotes. More recently she enjoyed playing solitaire on her tablet, taking power naps and being the anchor for her large family.
Mary Lea was preceded in death by her two sons, Donald and George and her stepson Lowell. She leaves behind her four daughters, Deborah, Teresa, Karen and Mary Jo, her step-son Phillip, as well as her granddaughter Elizabeth, who lived with her. Surviving her also are many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren as well her sisters Leah and Nida, brothers James, Gary and Rocky and many longtime friends. Mary Lea will be forever in our hearts and never forgotten.
A memorial service for Mary will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, July 31, 2015 at Sunset Lawn, Chapel of the Chimes at 4701 Marysville Boulevard Sacramento, CA 95838 in the Rio Linda area. All who knew her are welcome to attend.