Education was critically important to the woman who “never graduated from fifth grade,” as her children joked.
Huberta Wegbreit, 89, died of heart failure April 30 at Freedom Village at Brandywine retirement community. Better known as “Mrs. Wegbreit,” the elementary school teacher and principal spent 27 years sharing the importance of learning with her pupils.
“Education was very important to her,” said Robert Wegbreit, her son. “She raised three children as a single mother and sent us all to private colleges out of state.”
Wegbreit (née Herzfeld) spent her early years in New York, where she attended Hunter College and met her husband, Howard Wegbreit. The couple married in 1952 and moved to Bergenfield, N.J., before settling in Broomall. In 1963, Howard Wegbreit died at the age of 38, leaving his wife to raise three young children.
Following her husband’s death, Huberta Wegbreit dove into her teaching career.
Her dedication paid off, and she served as the Marple-Newtown Education Association president and won its teacher of the year award. Wegbreit worked in the Marple-Newtown School District at Marple, Culbertson, Loomis, Alice Grim, Russell and Brown elementary schools.
In remembering his mother, Robert Wegbreit recalled a teacher’s strike where Wegbreit opened her home to the negotiation team, hosting them for hours until they reached a contract.
“She was very proud of that,” he said.
Her community in Broomall also served as a point of pride. Often recognized around the neighborhood, Wegbreit cherished the town and opted to remain in her home long after her children departed.
“Everyone knew her,” her son said, noting that she attended Congregation Beth-El and valued the area’s Jewish life.
Giving back through public service was also one of Huberta Wegbreit’s core values. She supported ORT America, a Jewish education charity, and held a position on the Marple Township Environmental Advisory Board. Even after she moved into her retirement community, Wegbreit continued to serve her peers.
“She was named president of the Resident Advisory Council shortly before [her death],” Robert Wegbreit said.
Huberta Wegbreit is survived by her children, Sandra Edelman, Robert Wegbreit, Samuel Wegbreit and eight grandchildren.