Surrounded by her family, Brigitte Sylvia Fuerst Mangham, 57, of Orange, passed away at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston on Sunday, May 26, after a brief illness. She was born on March 19,1956, in Fort Carson, Co., to Christa Matuttis Fuerst and Juergen Kurt Fuerst. Brigitte grew up in Colorado, Germany, and Houston and became a resident of Orange in 1979.

Brigitte graduated from Sharpstown High School, and received a bachelor’s degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her first teaching job was at Klein Middle School in Houston. Brigitte married her college sweetheart Kenneth Samuel Mangham and moved to Orange in 1979. Later she earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Administration from McNeese State University. Brigitte devoted 33 years teaching middle school students mathematics in the Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD, first at Mauriceville Middle School and then at Little Cypress Junior High.

Brigitte’s professional and leadership skills kept her active in the Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association for many years. As an advocate for teachers, she served as president of the local CTA chapter, Little Cypress Junior High’s campus representative, and served a term on the Director’s Council for TCTA. Brigitte also was a member of the professional educators’ sorority, Delta Kappa Gamma and was a past member of the Orange County Aggie Moms’ Association.

She and Sam enjoyed their membership in the Joie de Vivre Mardi Gras Krewe for several years. Brigitte worked tirelessly for the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” program raising funds and awareness for cancer victims, survivors, and their families. She attended First United Methodist Church in Orange.

Brigitte’s parents, Christa Matuttis Fuerst and Juergen Kurt Fuerst preceded her in death.

Brigitte is survived by her beloved husband of 33 years, Kenneth Samuel Mangham; and their children; sons, Eric Mangham and his wife Ashley of Little Rock, Ark., and Scott Mangham of Fayetteville, Ark.; daughter, Emily Mangham Jansky and husband Brian of Houston; an eagerly awaited first grandchild, Eric and Ashley’s son Ethan Christopher, coming in September; and brother, Brian Fuerst of Houston. Brigitte’s family also includes her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Juanita and Glenn Mangham of Orange; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Glenda Mangham Wilson and Steve Wilson of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; and nieces, Stefanie and Annie. Also left to treasure Brigitte’s memory are other extended family and numerous friends.

Brigitte lived a life of abundant energy and enthusiasm. Her optimism was contagious; she was your biggest cheerleader in life…for her sweetie Sam, her precious children, her friends, her teaching colleagues, and her students. Her “can do” spirit made everyone believe they could be better…a better man, a better son, a better daughter, a better teacher, a better math student…a better friend. That legacy, Brigitte’s legacy, lives on in each life that she has touched.

The visitation will be at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange, on Friday, May 31, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The service will be held at 10:00 am, on Saturday, June 1, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange. The officiant will be the Hon. Keith Giblin.

Cremation will be performed under the direction of Claybar Haven of Rest Crematory.

The family would like to express its great thanks and appreciation to Dr. Dong Kim, and his staff, at Memorial Hermann Hospital for their kindness and support during Brigitte’s illness.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society at PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.