The former Mary Stauffer was born in Kansas City to Ruth and John Stauffer in 1956. Mary is the granddaughter of Oscar Stauffer, founder of Stauffer Communications, which, at the time of its sale, included 31 broadcast companies in 11 states.
Mary received her undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas, as well as attending the University of Kansas Law School, where she met Sam. Sam and Mary were married in August 1982, and Mary received her Juris Doctorate in 1983.
Following her graduation from law school, she was a law clerk for Kansas Supreme Court Justice David Prager. After the birth of their eldest children, Mary became a full time mom and began volunteering for various charities in Topeka. Sam and Mary have five children: Abby, Andy, Liz, Mark and Jenna.
Mary Brownback has been a passionate advocate for adoption, and has worked tirelessly to bring attention to adoption and childrens issues. Sam and Mary have two adopted children: Mark Brownback was born in Guatemala, and Jenna Brownback was born in China.