GOUVERNEUR – Retha H. Brown, age 92, passed away on February 11, 2018, at the Gouverneur Hospital.
There will be a memorial service honoring Retha on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the Gouverneur First United Methodist Church. Arrangements are with French Funeral Home in Gouverneur. Condolences may be shared online at www.frenchfuneralhomes.com.
Retha was born on June 18, 1925, at the family homestead in Lairdsville, NY to the late Frederick William and Lela Thirza (Jackson) Hiller. She graduated from the Vernon High School in 1942 and from the Utica School of Commerce in 1944. Retha married the Rev. Stanley E. Brown on June 18, 1949, at the Westmoreland Methodist Church officiated by her soon-to-be father-in-law, the Rev. Russell S. Brown. For the next 40 years, the Browns served the parishes of Hamilton, Gouverneur, North Gouverneur, and Massena, NY. In retirement the couple returned to their home in Gouverneur and served the United Church of Richville parish. Stanley passed away on November 6, 1993.
Mrs. Brown was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur, where she held office in the local church and served on committees at the District and Conference levels. She was a member of the United Methodist Women and was a past President and Treasurer of Unit 2.
Her community service was tireless. She was a member and past President of the Travelers Club, a Girl Scout Leader, and a Board member of Cambray Housing Corporation where she served as President from 2004-2010. At the time of her death she was an active life member of the EJ Noble/Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary; she was a member of the Gouverneur Library Board, and a member of the Gouverneur Garden Club. She also captained a local trivia team, known as "The Brownies," in support of the Gouverneur Reading Room.
Mrs. Brown was an artist, painting in oils, and showed her works at the Gouverneur Museum in the summer of 2012. She was an accomplished seamstress and an exceptional baker. One of her great loves was wildlife, including wild flowers, birds, and animals.
Her survivors include three children: son Craig H. Brown and his wife, Karen, and their children, Weston, Eleanor and Drew; daughter Lynne J. Brown and her wife, Shannon Rodes, and their daughters, Alexandra and Galen; daughter Dayle B. Burgess and her husband, Michael, and their children, Madeline and Nathaniel; and six great-grandchildren.
In addition to her parents and husband, Retha is predeceased by her sister and brother-in-law, Phyllis and Virgil Smith; and a niece, Elaine Smith Malecki.
Donations in memory of Retha may be made to the Gouverneur United Methodist Church, PO Box 157, Gouverneur NY 13642; the Gouverneur Library, 60 Church Street, Gouverneur NY 13642; or the Gouverneur Hospital, 77 West Barney Street, Gouverneur NY 13642.