She Will Forever Be Missed



Remembering Gloria

This site was created in memory of our loving wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother.

Her Life

Gloria Marini Leber, 95, of Lafayette, Colorado passed away on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 at the Peaks at Old Laramie Trail Assisted Living Home. Gloria was born on January 8th, 1926 in West Hoboken, NJ. She spent most of her life in Nutley, NJ and retired to Bradley Beach, NJ. Gloria eventually spent the last few years of her life in Montauk, NY and then Colorado, to live by family.

Gloria and her sisters, Rose and Nelda, were raised in Union City and known as the ‘Marini Sisters’. As a young girl, Gloria was the first to rise in the morning, eager and ready to start each day, keeping happy company with her father. He called her ‘il mio uccellino’ (In Italian: “my little bird”). Gloria graduated from Union Hill High School. Upon graduation she received the award for ‘Class Smoothie’. Gloria joked that the three busiest years of her life included graduating from high school in 1945, marrying Richard Leber in 1946, and in 1947 the birth of their son, Marshal.

Family was always first for Gloria — her life pivoted on family togetherness. When Mike was a baby, they lived with Gloria’s parents, her mother-in-law, and both sisters and their families in a four story apartment building owned by her parents, in Union City. Walks in the local park with her mother and the family were daily occurrences. Through life, Gloria was an avid reader of many genres. Gloria was a spirited New York Yankees fan. She watched all the games and knew the facts and figures of present and past players. Gloria was always finding NYY fans among family and (new) friends to share in her enthusiasm.

Whether through affiliations at Saint Mary’s Church, Bridge Group, bookkeeping at Bergen Tool in Nutley, gathering on their boat for ‘dry dock’ parties, holding the ritual ‘Tea Parties’ with family and friends, traveling, or encouraging you to become a Star Trek fan — Gloria and her husband Dick were a couple who shared and laughed often.

Gloria was devoted and took an active part in the lives of her grandchildren, Brett and Chelsea. Gloria used her computer skills during the COVID pandemic to visit with family and stayed connected with her great-grandchildren, sharing in their daily lives.

Gloria’s personality brought a variety of people into her world. She had a huge heart and generously shared her gentle kindness, grounded wisdom, and abundant wit with all generations. Gloria lived fully and compassionately.

Gloria is survived by her grandson, Brett Leber and wife, Kristina; granddaughter Chelsea Samot and husband, Corey; great-grandchildren Owen Leber and Hudson Samot; daughter-in-law Patti Leber; sister Nelda Brickner, and by many loving nieces, nephews, family members and friends. 

Gloria’s funeral arrangements will be with the William J. Leber Funeral Home in Chester, NJ. Gloria’s interment will be February 17, 2021 at the Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst, NJ. 

For online condolences and information visit www.leberfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: The Friends of the Montauk Library, 871 Montauk Highway, Montauk NY 11954.


She was Gloria or Glo to many, but I only ever called her “Re” or “Re Re”, a contraction of Glo-REE-a, created by one of her nieces. That’s how she introduced herself to me (I imagine) from whatever moment in those first few weeks of my life that I met her. “Re” had no formality, and that’s how our relationship was: unencumbered, simple, pure. It was like that from childhood to the last time I sat with her, on a park bench in Boulder, Colorado, 37 years later. “It’s so easy to talk with you,” she said, “as if we’d been doing this all along”. Though we have always talked, this was different: she was acknowledging our physical distance, then between Colorado and Pennsylvania, but between Eastern New Jersey or Long Island and Western Pennsylvania before that. She was also acknowledging our closeness for the first two decades of my life: innumerable weekends, evenings, hours, moments together — in her home in Nutley, her apartments in Bradley Beach, my house in Montauk — where we talked, or more likely, just did things together. Or we sat, together and close, her presence so loving and encouraging.

Re communicated so much through this presence, her way of being. It was tranquil, confident, calm, nurturing. You are loved, it said. It’s going to be ok. She gave, selflessly, egoless in her words and actions. She wasn’t outwardly bothered by much, if anything.

I’ll always remember: making sandcastles, playing Spit (“Look at those fast little fingers!”) or Rummikub, doing jigsaw puzzles, playing Post-Office with her decorative stamps and the near-life-size public mailbox Papa made me, the time I looked at her with eyes and mouth wide open and she deftly pulled food from my throat, how she bit her tongue when she concentrated, sitting under the salon-style hair drier she used for curling her hair, sharing tea and coffee, reading together quietly, exquisite packed lunches for road trips, perfectly and tightly made beds, how she called our son beautiful.

With Re’s passing, my world became smaller. But the impact she made, and the life she shared with me, will never be forgotten.

—Brett (grandson)

The world is a better place because you were here. The thing I will remember most about you is how you made those around you feel. You radiated love and patience, gave generously, and lived fully. The smallest moments together would leave you filled with a feeling of unconditional love, laughter and lightness. You had a way of acknowledging hardships, but with humor and wit that left you feeling like everything was okay in the world. It’s hard to put into words the kind of magic you had.

The last few months you would tell me multiple times that “I love you is more than just words”. I couldn’t agree more, and I am truly grateful for you xx

—Chelsea (granddaughter)

Re was such a special person. She always made me feel welcomed and part of the family. We took many trips to Bradley Beach to see Re and I have such fond memories of those trips. No other time in my life would I find such comfort in just sitting around a dining room table, talking and snacking. Re would always say it feels like you two have always been here—like no time had passed since we’d last seen one another. She was right. Every visit with her was so easy and comfortable and lovely. Re is one of those once in a lifetime people and I will miss her dearly. 

—Kristina (granddaughter-in-law)

Gloria was affectionately known as Ree-Ree, Aunt Glo in the Dark, Re-run, Aunt Gloria, Glo, and Re.

When you were with Gloria you were ‘comfortable’, she brought out your laughter, and parted with practical wisdom — you felt Gloria’s unconditional love. She was our family archivist, providing genealogical and family lore. Now to piece together all that we are part of, without our beloved Gloria.

—Lauren Brickner-McDonald (niece)

It was a blessing to have lived with Ree’s boundless compassion and kindness, grounded wisdom, sharp wit, and wonderful sense of fun. In the comfort of her company, Ree made us all feel welcomed and loved – through the generations of our family, and the countless folks she opened her home and heart to along the way. In gratitude for the timeless advice, loving support, good cheer and laughter dear Aunt Ree.

—Dea Brickner-Wood (niece)

I will miss Gloria and her kind, loving, pragmatic and clear-eyed way of viewing the world. She was kind to me the moment I met her and came into the Brickner/Marini family, and that kindness never waned..  Dick and Gloria were my residence in those days before Dea and I got married in 1984, and I loved the diverse conversations that Dick and Gloria had with me over the years. Gloria and I loved talking about books we read, the New York Yankees, baseball in general, religion, politics and pin-headed politicians. She could talk about all those topics we are told to avoid! Her loving kindness did not diminish even as her body aged, and she was always able to find the joy in each day, gratitude for all the blessings and love in her life. She leaves a legacy of love for all of us, and her life was full and powerful. She inspired others like me to live more fully into ourselves! Rest in peace dear precious Gloria, beloved child of God!

—Larry Brickner-Wood (nephew-in-law)
Gloria in Montauk in 2002


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