Mary Jacquelyn "Jackie" Brandt was born Dec. 18, 1927, in Elgin, Ill., to Ora Blaine and Loretta Mae (Leesberg) Helm. She died May 12, 2021, in Vancouver, Wash., at the age of 93. She had three siblings, Don (the eldest), then Jackie, followed by Yvonne, and David.
Jackie graduated from high school in 1946, in Davenport, Iowa. After graduation, she worked for Bell Telephone in Davenport and married Robert L. Schmitt in 1947. They had two girls, Merrili and Stefani, before moving to Vancouver, Wash., in 1949, for Rob’s health. Roberta Louise "Bobbi Loo" was born in August of 1953, and died five months later of SIDS. In February of 1954, Robert died at age 26. Their son, Matthew was born in September. She married Melvin Cates in 1955. Jackie returned to school and got her bachelor’s degree in communication at Evergreen State College in Vancouver in June of 1982. In 1983, she married Lloyd "Bud" Brandt, who passed away in 1989.
Jackie had many talents. She was a gifted seamstress, accomplished pianist, an artist (usually oils and watercolors), and she was a writer. She kept a daily journal, wrote short stories and poetry. A week before she passed, she received her copy of “The Messenger” which contained a poem she had written. She loved playing cards and thrift shopping. She and her sister, Yvonne, enjoyed jazz festivals in the midwest and Oregon.
Jackie was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert L. Schmitt; daughter, Roberta Louise Schmitt; brothers, Donald Helm and David Helm; husband, Lloyd Brandt; son, Matthew Schmitt; and son-in-law, Steven Wilkinson.
She is survived by her sister, Yvonne Mercer of East Moline, Ill.; daughters, Merrili Sprecher (Dennis) of Battle Ground, Wash., and Stefani Wilkinson of Cumberland, Md.; daughter-in-law, Marlene Schmitt; grandchildren, Eric Sprecher (Marcy), Battle Ground, Wash., Jason Sprecher of Vancouver, Wash., Nathaniel Wilkinson (Melinda) of Garner, N.C., Heather Wilkinson of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Michelle Daugherty (Jason), and Megan Schmitt, both of Vancouver, Wash.; 12 great-grandchildren; and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
There will be a celebration of life open house for family and friends at Merrili’s, 12622 NE 180th St., Battle Ground, WA 98604, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 5, 2021. Food will be provided. In lieu of flowers, consider memorial donations/contributions in Mary J. Brandt’s name to Rocksolid Community Teen Center, P.O. Box 175, Brush Prairie, WA 98606, or online at www.rocksolid-teen.com.