Mary G. Breme was born in Chicago, the fifth of six children of immigrant parents from Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia). She was their first child to be born in the United States. Mary did her pre-medical education at Lewis University, now the Illinois Institute of Technology, and graduated from the Medical School at the University of Illinois, interning at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago. She completed her residency at Geneva Hospital in Geneva, Illinois, and passed up a desirable position in Geneva to practice medicine in Warrenville.
Dr. Mary Breme was before her time, graduating from medical school in 1943 and pursuing a focus on remedying the problem of lack of medical care in rural areas. Dr. Mary opened the Warrenville Medical Clinic in July of 1950, after practicing medicine on the second floor of the bank building in Warrenville on Stafford Place and Batavia Road for six years. One wing of the Clinic housed five combination treatment-consultation rooms-two of which were equipped to handle minor surgery. The second wing offered complete facilities for diagnosis and treatment as X-ray, ultraviolet radiation, electrocardiography, diathermy, basal metabolism and clinical laboratory. Dr. Mary’s practice flourished.
In 1964 Dr. Mary continued her medical education at the Menninger School of Psychiatry in Topeka, Kansas. She returned to Warrenville in 1967 to set up her practice in psychiatry. Quoting the Warrenville News from March 13, 1958, “Dr. Mary was finally able to build the Warrenville Clinic completed in 1950. The Clinic stands as a monument to a doctor’s tireless care for her patients and to Warrenville’s response to that care.” This Clinic is now home to Warrenville Youth and Family Services.
For many years Dr. Mary resided on an estate on Winfield Road. Being a very practical woman, she purchased the property because of her dream to treat emotionally disturbed children. Although circumstances prevented her dream from ever becoming a reality, the home was a quiet retreat for a very busy lady and a wonderful opportunity for her daughter, Mary Ellen, to nurture her love of horses and sheep.
Dr. Mary once said, “It has been my experience that there are four areas of growth – physical, mental, emotion and spiritual. For many years the physical and mental were emphasized, then came the recognition of the importance of solving emotional needs, but it seems that people are beginning to recognize that the most important of the four areas has been neglected.”
Dr. Mary, is affectionately remembered by many local residents and literally contributed to the growth of our community, delivering many Warrenville babies during her time in town. Two photo albums at the City Museum are filled with pictures of these children. Please stop by and add you or any of your family members to these wonderful pieces of history, a true testament to the difference Dr. Mary made on our community.