Maria Hallenbeck-Brown, age 63, of Gloversville, entered into eternal life Saturday, September 9, 2017, at Ellis Hospital with her loving family by her side. She was born on April 1, 1954, in Gloversville, New York, to Salvatore and Margaret (Peters) Guarnieri.
Maria was a Gloversville High School graduate in 1972. After graduation, Maria pursued her lifelong dream to be a teacher. She was born to be an educator and she couldn’t see herself doing anything else. Four years later, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY Plattsburgh, and later earned her master’s degree from the College of Saint Rose.
Maria started her teaching career in Tupper Lake before returning to Gloversville, where she taught briefly at Boulevard Elementary School. In 1981, Maria started The Little Rocking Horse Preschool. She enjoyed teaching preschool immensely, but after ten years, she decided to continue her teaching career and return to public education when she accepted a job at Kingsborough Elementary School.
Maria had a passion for education as well as for the students that she taught. She eventually would become a math teacher at Gloversville Middle School, teaching seventh-grade math and eighth-grade math. During her time in education, Maria made a lasting impact in the community educationally, and also through her fundraising talents in the philanthropic sector. In 2012, Maria began hosting “Math-A-Thons” schoolwide in effort to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
During the first year of The Math-A-Thon, Maria inspired her students at Gloversville Middle School to raise $12,596. She continued the fundraiser for the next five years until her retirement. The Math-A-Thons that Maria began raised over $50,000 for the hospital, an accomplishment that she was very proud of achieving.
In June 2016, Maria retired from public education after 25 years of a successful teaching career.
In October of 2016, as part of a retirement gift from her husband and sons, Maria had the opportunity to fulfill another lifelong dream when she was able to visit Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, with her husband, Brian.
Retirement also brought another joy to Maria’s life as she was now able to enjoy spending time watching her beloved grandchildren. She was their “Mema.” She adored them just as much as they adored her.
Maria was a devout Catholic, attending Mass every week at the Church of The Holy Spirit in Gloversville. Maria loved her Catholic faith, and was a dedicated parishioner, serving the Holy Mass as a Eucharistic Minister, and also as a former religious education teacher.
There was nothing in the world that Maria enjoyed more than spending time with her family, especially when she had the opportunity to be with her sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and also extended family at the weekly dinners she hosted and during holidays.
Maria is survived by her husband, Brian Brown, whom she married on November 25, 2011. She is also survived by her three sons, Christopher Hallenbeck, Michael Hallenbeck (Diana), and Kolin Hallenbeck (Abbey Garguilo), all of Gloversville. Additional survivors include her three stepsons, Justin Brown (Sabrina) of Georgia, Adam Brown (Kathryn) of Florida and Ryan Brown (Amanda) of Pennsylvania; three sisters, Kathyleen Guarnier of Amsterdam, NY, Cecelia Malagisi (Andrew) of Saratoga Springs, NY, and Rita Guarnieri of Gloversville; one sister-in-law, Cynthia Guarnieri of Laurel, MD; one aunt, Madalene Salamack of Johnstown, NY; one uncle, Robert Hann of Liverpool, NY; as well as many, many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Maria is also survived by her cherished grandchildren, Luciana, Jackson, Finley, Olivia, Connor, Hudson, Noah, Micheli, Farrah, Bryan and Elijah. They truly brought so much love and joy to Maria’s life, and it was evident to anyone who knew her. They were the light of her life.
Maria was predeceased by her parents; and also her brother, Salvatore Guarnieri III.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend calling hours on Thursday, September 14, 2017, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Walrath & Stewart Funeral Home, 51 Fremont St., Gloversville, NY, where the Knights of Columbus will recite prayers at 6:30 p.m.
A funeral Mass of Christian burial will take place on Friday, September 15, 2017, at 10 a.m. located at The Church of The Holy Spirit, 151 South Main Street, Gloversville, NY, with the Rev. Don Czelusniak officiating. Afterward, burial will take place at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Johnstown, NY.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions in Maria’s name are made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or online at www.stjude.org.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.brbsfuneral.com.