ADA, Mich. - Greta Maria Breyer, 77, formerly of Stephenson, Mich., most recently of Ada, Mich., and Sun City, Ariz., passed away on May 27, 2012, at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., after a short bout with pneumonia.
She was born to John Anselm Hyypio and Olga Maria (Peterson) Hyypio on July 29, 1934, in Tapiola in their home on the western shore of Otter Lake.
She graduated from John A. Doelle School in Tapiola in 1952. It was there she met her husband, Richard Armin Breyer, the first year teacher of agriculture, general science and industrial arts. Following a 365-day courtship, they were married on June 27, 1953, in the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Hancock.
She kept homes in Olympia, Wash., and in King City and Seaside, Calif., while her husband served in the U.S. Army. After Richard's service ended in October 1955, they returned to the Copper Country and made their home on the Tapiola Road.
She became a 4-H sewing teacher and participated in the upbringing of a great circle of young girls. She also led the youth choir and organized Christmas pageants at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Elo.
In 1966, her husband retired from teaching and accepted a new job in the Extension Service which led them to relocate the family to L'Anse. Greta became the catalyst for the neighborhood coffee club and transformed the neighborhood into an extended family of good friends.
In 1973, they relocated to Stephenson for Richard's work. There she accelerated her activity as a 4-H sewing leader while running a child day care service in her home.
She also worked to remodel their home and demonstrated adept wall-papering, wood finishing and painting skills.
Greta was active in St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, leading and serving in the women's groups.
Following Richard's retirement in 1990, they began spending winters in Sun City where they were both active in various clubs. She was a harmonica player in the Sun City Harmonicaires, often playing three gigs a week for the benefit of senior citizens. With the ensemble, she was the featured soloist, donning costumes while singing "Suzy Snowflake," "Buttons and Bows" or "The Happy Wanderer." She also volunteered weekly at the Friendship Center and Senior Citizens Center.
Her hobbies included helping others, gardening, canning, cooking, couponing, crosswords, cleaning, refunding, singing, traveling and sewing. She was cherished and adored as a mother by her children. Her leadership in 4-H clubs touched the lives of hundreds of youths between Tapiola, L'Anse and Stephenson over 29 years of teaching.
During her lifetime, she had been a member of Apostolic Lutheran in Tapiola, Our Saviour's Lutheran in Elo, St. John's in L'Anse and St. Stephen's Lutheran in Stephenson. In her later years, she was a member of Trinity Lutheran in Grand Rapids and Peach Lutheran in Peoria, Ariz.
She became a Sunday School teacher following her Holy Confirmation at age 15 and continued serving the Lord's children as needed for 55 years. She was very active in Christian Women's Club since 1976. She hosted bible study groups back then that are still meeting regularly today. She had a very strong faith in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
She is survived by six children: Daniel of Ada, Patricia (William) Patton of Saranac, Mich., Timothy (Dorothy) of Dover, Del., Jerome (Sally) of Gilbert, Ariz., Christopher (Gabriela) of Foothill Ranch, Calif. and Jessica (Roger) Marks of Ada; two brothers, Karl (Evelyn) Hyypio of Weston, Wis., and Paul (Chris) Hyypio of Tapiola; two sisters, Rachel Grapentine of Utica, Mich., and Ida (Stanley) Michaelson of Tapiola; her exchange student son, Pigio Pirani of Italy; two brothers-in-law, Glenn (Virgina) of Birnamwood, Wis. and William (Carol) of Appleton, Wis.; two sisters-in-law, Rosemary (Jim) Tobey (nee Breyer) of Brookfield, Wis. and Helen Breyer of Antigo, Wis.
She is survived by 11 grandchildren: John (Tiffany) Patton, Andrew, Benjamin and Samuel Patton, Rachel and Hannah Breyer, Ian, Bianca and Armin Breyer and Tobias and Marilla Marks; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and a host of neighbors and friends.
Her dear Richard departed her on June 1, 2009, after a challenging six-year battle with bone marrow cancer. As a couple, they were an outstanding example of love and role-model leadership and character.
She was also predeceased by her parents; her older brothers, John (Betty in 2007) Hyypio in 1996, Peter Hyypio in 2008 and Thomas (sister-in-law Norma in 1982) Hyypio in 2005; two brothers-in-law, William Grapentine in 1996 and Lloyd Breyer in 2006.
A memorial service is scheduled for July 21, 2012, at 2 p.m. in Mission United Lutheran Church in Pelkie. Greta's and Richard's ashes will be interred in the Elo Cemetery, not far from where they met. A luncheon will follow.
Those wishing to make a memorial contribution are asked to consider donating to St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, S214 Willow St., Stephenson, MI 49887, the church home where she spent 32 happy years loving God, her husband and her children.
She is our Mater Familias (Mother of our family) and our Mama Lilla (Mother Dearest). She has flown away to a land where Mr. Breyer waits and joy shall never end. She will be sadly missed by all.
Her full biography, memorial photo and video galleries and a guest book are available online at memorialwebsites.legacy.com/gretabreyer.