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From going to ballgames to cooking chicken fricassee, Marian Briefel was always there for her family

Marian Briefel, shown holding her great-granddaughter in July 2018, died April 14 at White Oak Adventist Medical Center from complications of covid-19. She was 90.
Marian Briefel, shown holding her great-granddaughter in July 2018, died April 14 at White Oak Adventist Medical Center from complications of covid-19. She was 90. (Family photo)
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Jason Briefel remembered growing up a few miles away from his grandparents. They were a constant presence in the lives of their active grandchildren.

“They were nearly always at my brother’s and my ballgames,” Briefel said.

His favorite dish from the excellent cook named Grandma? Chicken fricassee. Briefel said he was grateful, especially now, that she taught him how to make it.

His grandmother, Marian Briefel, died on April 14 at White Oak Adventist Medical Center of complications from covid-19. She was 90.

A longtime Silver Spring resident, her family described her as a kind and caring woman who readily took in relatives and friends at various times because of need or circumstance. Her son, Ken Briefel, recalled that his mom made their home a welcoming one where his friends felt comfortable visiting.

Marian Briefel’s son said she was married for 64 years to his late father, Harold. They did most everything together, such as cooking, entertaining friends and traveling, but really, mah-jongg was “the thing” that gave her joy, Ken Briefel said.

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Briefel started working in the purchasing department at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring in the late 1960s and later became the department manager. Many of the colleagues and vendors with whom Briefel worked at Holy Cross contacted the family after hearing of her passing and shared touching stories, according to her son. A female colleague told him that his mother took her under her wing as a young woman and helped her lay out a path to retirement at 62. The women shared a love of fine clothing and jewelry.

Even in her assisted-living facility at Riderwood in Silver Spring, Briefel dressed nicely and pampered herself with weekly manicures and visits to the hair salon, her son said.

Briefel also had a daughter, Gail; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Daughter-in-law Ronette Briefel was the last family member to see Marian Briefel in person before she died. That was March 14. The following day, her son went to visit, but signs at the Riderwood gates denied visitors from entering the facility.

Her family was able to see her a few times on FaceTime before she died on a Tuesday. By Wednesday evening, her son said, about a dozen family members “gathered” to share memories on Zoom.

She and her husband bought funeral plots years ago at Judean Memorial Gardens Cemetery with another couple, who lived down the road from them for 40 years. After Briefel was buried in a service that friends and family watched on Zoom, she was reunited with her husband and her neighbors.

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