Edith M. Brayer
Edith M. Brayer
  • August 28, 1926 - March 3, 2017
  • Saint Louis, Missouri

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Dr. Edith Brayer

No greater compliment was paid to Dr. Edith Brayer than when she was referred to as a practicing marriage and family therapist. Her commitment to the profession began years ago when she became a student in the nationally recognized Doctoral program at St Louis University. Under the direction of a nationally recognized faculty she developed therapeutic skills that aided individuals and families in both the St Louis area and Southern Illinois for many years.

Dr. Brayer was a respected marriage and family therapist, specializing in grief and loss, adolescents and family, family crisis intervention and group therapy. She lectured extensively on issues ranging from strengthening relationships to dealing with the loss of a spouse or loved one. Some of her greatest accomplishments occurred from 1988-2001when she conducted daily therapy sessions at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Granite City, Illinois. She loved the science and art of her profession, specifically techniques derived from her strong belief in Systems Theory and psychotherapeutic principles. Her hospice work with individuals, experiencing the stages of grief, provided her with her most rewarding and challenging cases. She was licensed in both Illinois and Missouri and was a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Because of her strong therapeutic skills, Dr. Brayer's cases were presented in national journals and she has provided practicum instruction for students at both St. Louis University and Washington University. Because of her reputation as a professional she was asked to serve on several committees, dealing with mental health issues by St. Elizabeth Medical Center and the State of Illinois.

Dr. Brayer came to the field of family therapy after years of experience as a mother and wife. She spent many years on the car pool, PTA and scouting circuits, raising four strong willed independent thinking children. Her 37 year marriage was filled with joy and intellectual stimulation, until she became a widow facing the very personal experience of grief and loss. Since her retirement in 2001, Dr. Brayer has spent time reading and writing, hiking secluded beaches and long mountain trails, and the entire length of the Katy Trail (round trip). Her long walks usually ended at a local restaurant, with good food, fine wine and lively conversation with family and friends. Edith's remarkable life is summarized in the following paragraphs.

Edith Marie Silies (Brayer) was Born on August 28, 1926 in St. Louis to a WWI veteran (Edgar Silies) and his French war bride (Marie Caumont). She had a younger sister (Yvonne) and younger brother (Edgar). At age three she traveled to France in luxury on a grand ocean liner to visit her French grandmother. She had an upper middle class life until 3 years old when the depression hit and her family had to move out of a nice house to an apartment (with vermin) where she lived for years with her parents in poor conditions. Her daily life consisted of experiencing, holes in her shoes when walking to school and the rare treat of baloney for dinner when her hard working father and mother could find employment. In an unusual break from the depression (at age 13) was taken on a several month long trip (and adventure) of the United States by a well off aunt and uncle. She visited all western States and all major cities including LA, San Francisco and Denver. Young Edith experienced and saw the impact of the dust bowl and she personally survived a major dust storm.

Her family emerged slowly out of poverty in the 1930's and was living comfortably and modestly when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the world went to war. She lost her best childhood friend in the Bataan Death march, Philippines and she left Roosevelt High School at age 15-16 to make money for her family and serve meals to navy recruits heading to war. She was a phenomenal singer and the secretary of the French Society in St. Louis and entertained French flyers-training in St. Louis during the war-with her beautiful singing voice and engaging personality. Many of these new friends died after returning to Europe. She taught herself to speak, read and write fluent French at some point in her young life and prayed often for her French grandmother who lived in Normandy at the time of D Day.

After the war she married a French graduate student at St Louis University, Roger Brayer who later became a scientist in the atomic energy field and was involved in many classified projects. Her actions as a young wife directly resulted in her husband discovering 15 new species of fossil life with: the collection eventually landing in the Smithsonian and an article being published in the Journal of Paleontology. Edith's story was featured in the August, 2016 edition of Earth Magazine. One of the new species (and a new genius of life) was named in her honor by her loving husband: Editia Elegantis.

She had four children in the 1950s and 1960s: Michael (a technical writer), Mark (an executive with the Boy Scouts of America), Patrick (a Public Defender) and Anne-Marie (a property manager and Edith's heroic care giver in the last months of her life). She is the grandmother of Christopher (a police officer) and David (a pilot) and the great grandmother to Christopher's daughter Emma Brayer (who has a boundless future).

She served as the President of the 58 Club (service organization) in Simsbury, Connecticut and was recognized as a First Lady of the Day of Hartford, Connecticut. She loved her seven years of life (1958-1966) in Simsbury, Connecticut, always fondly remembering the strong intellectualism of her New England friends. In her free time she loved to paint and sketch, providing many quality pieces of art to family and friends. She opposed the Vietnam conflict and saw a son drafted into the army during the height of the Vietnam War. Her son