Wife. Mother. Poet. Prayer Warrior.
Muriel Ann Brandenburg, born January 6, 1926, passed away peacefully January 26, 2017 at age 91.
The Eastwood Baptist Church in Medford has named Muriel an official "Prayer Warrior," in honor of her lifelong work as a roving spiritual emissary who offered support to anyone in need.
Life Among The Icelanders
Muriel Einarsson grew up in Gardar, North Dakota, a farming community (township) originally settled by Icelandic immigrants.
Muriel’s family endured severe economic hardship after their father passed away from tuberculosis. Muriel and her sister Betty were briefly placed in a sanitarium, as a precaution against exposure to the illness.
Later, Muriel’s mother remarried and gave birth to Muriel’s younger sister, Rosemary.
In her early teens Muriel contracted polio and spent a year in a body cast. This isolating experience helped her to develop her inner life, as she studied literature and music to ease her loneliness.
Muriel’s brother, Herbert, was killed during his service in World War II.
After The War
After high school Muriel taught in a one-room school house. Her life changed, however, when she was given a state grant to attend the University of North Dakota, due to her disabilities from polio.
At the University of North Dakota, Muriel’s poetry was published in a notable literary journal and she met a handsome World War II veteran, John Brandenburg. They soon married and John entered medical training at Northwestern in Chicago.
Later, while working as a medical resident at the Mayo Clinic, John was offered a partnership in the newly established Medford Clinic. John and Muriel moved to Oregon with their two young sons, Daniel and John. Their younger children, Eric and Molly, were born in Medford.
A Creative Neighborhood Playhouse
The Brandenburg home became a magnet for neighborhood children who wanted a place to play freely. Muriel well understood the need for children to explore their raucous creativity without judgement. The organic neighborhood “playhouse” (filled with lizards, exploding “science experiments” and backyard “army” maneuvers) Muriel created was a true gift to her community, and to a small army of energetic little boys.
Muriel also became a leader in Recovery, Inc., a non-profit counseling group that offered free therapy and support services.
Muriel continued her literary studies and earned a teaching credential from Southern Oregon State University in the 1980s.
Muriel also formed an enduring neighborhood prayer group. For over 50 years, Muriel and her close friends met every Monday afternoon to pray for the welfare of others.
John Brandenburg passed away in 2005.
Muriel lived courageously and with gratitude for her life and family. At her passing, she was ready to see God and to be reunited with her husband, John.