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Marcia 'Marcy' Brett, 84, accountant and fashion designer

Sept. 11, 1933 – May 3, 2018

Marcia B. “Marcy” Brett, who became an accountant after starting a career as a dress designer, died May 3 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a short illness. She was 84.

Born Marcia Barmon in Philadelphia, she grew up in Buffalo. Her father owned a dress manufacturing business on Broadway.

“That’s where she learned how to design dresses,” said her daughter, Julie Brett-Battleman. “In today’s world, she would have been in the accounting department because she was so good at numbers, instead of behind a sewing machine.”

She was a 1950 graduate of Buffalo Seminary and, after earning a bachelor’s degree in art history from Bryn Mawr College, she worked in New York City for a fashion house as a women’s clothing designer.

In 1956, she married Jay E. Brett, whom she had known since they were in a youth group at Temple Beth Zion when they were in high school. She continued working in the fashion industry in Boston, Mass., while he attended Harvard University Law School.

The volunteer work Mrs. Brett did while her children were growing up proved to be the prelude to her new career.

“I was on the board of the Community Music School,” she told Buffalo News reporter Katharine Smith in 1979, “and when they had to let their bookkeeper go after the United Way had a bad year and reduced its support, an accountant on the board taught me how to keep the books. I found out I loved the work.”

She earned a degree in accounting from Erie Community College and became a certified public accountant. She worked as an accountant for 20 years, retiring from Dean and Associates.

Mrs. Brett remained active as a volunteer and as a supporter of the arts. In addition to serving on the board at the Community Music School, she was a docent at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and a devotee of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

A longtime Snyder resident, she was a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society, taking patients to their medical appointments, and was a classroom volunteer in the Buffalo schools. She also was active in Planned Parenthood of Buffalo and was president of the Buffalo chapter of the Bryn Mawr College Alumni Club.

Her husband, a longtime associate at the Cohen Swados law firm, died in 2013.

Survivors also include another daughter, Amy Brett Mester; a son, Dr. Peter B.; a sister, Bonnie Fastiff; and six grandchildren.

Services will be private.

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