Nancy Hamilton Brown passed away after a brief illness on April 24, 2017 in Chicago. She was 88.
Born on March 27, 1929, she grew up in White Plains, attended the Knox School for Girls in Cooperstown, and graduated from Pembroke College of Brown University with a degree in English Literature.
After college, she met and married the love of her life, Charles O. Brown Jr., in 1952. They settled in Rye, where Mrs. Brown was actively involved in the Apawamis Club, the Woman’s Club of Rye, and the TWIG organization of United Hospital. She was also an avid golfer, tennis, and paddle tennis.
With a close set of fun-loving friends, the Browns enjoyed a busy social life, attending and hosting cocktail parties, dinners, dances, and bridge club on a regular basis. Even their children looked forward to their annual New Year’s Eve party, which typically involved talent shows, dancing, and carousing into the wee hours.
A great organizer, Mrs. Brown handled the flowers for Rye Presbyterian Church for ten years, managing the donations, and choosing and arranging the flowers each Sunday. She had a green thumb and an eye for flower design.
Nancy Brown loved to sing, and joined the Sweet Adeline’s Rye Chapter, of which her sister Joan was the director. They formed a barbershop quartet called the Alley Cats and made a splash at national competitions. Admittedly, the Alley Cats gained more notoriety for their costumes than their singing – hot pants with cat ears and a tail, all trimmed in pink marabou – but the key was they had a great time.
In the mid-1970s, after her children entered high school, she became a real estate agent at Realty 3 in Rye, where she worked for over 30 years, until moving to Chicago to be closer to her son and his family. There, she was embraced by her daughter-in-law’s extended family and made new bridge-playing friends at her home in Smith Village.
Although a child of the Depression and a true believer in thriftiness, Nancy Brown was extraordinarily generous to her family, for which they will always be grateful.
She was pre-deceased by her beloved husband, Charlie, who died in 1992. She is survived by her three children and their spouses: Jeffrey O. Brown and Mary Kay Daughters of Stamford, Conn., Jean T. Brown and Ken Case of Huntington Bay, Long Island, and Charles O. Brown III and Mary Vogt Brown of Chicago; two grandchildren, Emma Jean Brown, and Owen Charles Brown of Chicago; her sister, Joan Damon, of Hastings-on-Hudson; six nieces and nephews; and an extended family of cousins with whom she remained close. She was grateful to see them all at a Thomson-clan family reunion just last year.
A memorial service was held in Chicago on April 30, and another will be held in late June in Rye. Please join us in celebrating the long life of Nancy Brown with the family toast: “Here’s to us. Who’s like us? Nae’body. (Thank God.)”