July 21, 1933 – January 22, 2021
Mary died peacefully at the age of 87. Though she had suffered intermittent pain in recent years, which she dealt with stoically, she carried on with life to the fullest until this January when her health deteriorated, and she knew that she was dying. She was well cared for over a few days in the Jubilee Hospital by a staff who were kind, helpful and considerate.
Mary is lovingly remembered by family and friends. She is survived by her husband Roy, her son Michael, daughter Elizabeth Saunders-Brown (Cliff), granddaughters Alberta and Bridget, brother Peter Walling, sister-in-law Shirley Cope (Trevor), as well as by her nieces and nephews Alex (Jane), Vicky, Andrew, Treley, David and each of their families.
Born in Birkenhead in Cheshire, England Mary lived a dynamic, well-rounded life. Curious, bright, and spirited, with a wonderful sense of humour, and an interest in everyone she met, she made the most of everything she set her mind and heart to.
A qualified Social Worker (University of Liverpool) and Psychiatric Social Worker (University of Manchester), with a BA in Psychology (University of Calgary) Mary was an outstanding and compassionate practitioner who worked for and with the disadvantaged as well as with those who were disabled. She began her career in community and mental hospitals in England and then at the Bristol Child Guidance Clinic.
Upon emigrating to Canada, she worked as a sessional instructor at Mount Royal College (University) and for several years as a Research Co-ordinator in a quality-of-life programme for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She collaborated with her husband Roy in the publication of Empowerment and Developmental Disabilities: Choices and Quality of Life and contributed to articles. In Australia, she worked as a sessional instructor at Flinders University.
Mary was also active in community throughout her life. In her retirement she supported her community with her contributions to the Vital Vittles meal service at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Sooke; as a representative for Shirley on the CRD Parks Committee; and as a helper at Shirley Days over several years.
However, Mary’s abiding interest was music. She sang in many major choirs in England, Canada and Australia. A talented and avid keyboard player, she turned her focus from piano to harpsichord while living in Calgary and became extremely well versed in early music. It was her passion and one she devoted herself to.
She was for many years a member and president of the Calgary Early Music Society, as well as a founding member of the Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players.
Upon moving to Shirley, Mary became very active in the Sooke music scene where she produced and performed unique and well-received concerts both in public venues and in her home, blending her extensive knowledge of music and history with performances that included vocal and instrumental players. Often, she was stopped in Sooke with someone asking, “When is your next concert?” These concerts brought both Mary and her audiences great joy.
Beyond all of this was the great love and generous devotion that she gave to her family who loved and who will forever love her dearly. She was kind, loyal, feisty and formidable, a champion conversationalist and a keen scrabble player and a superb colleague in casting her eye over her husband’s writing and relentless in her edits, which he was allowed to accept or reject. Yes, Mary Brown will be forever remembered as a singularly amazing lady.
A private family service was held at Sands Funeral Chapel on Saturday, February 6th, 2021. A recording of the service will be available to friends upon request.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the BC Cancer Foundation.
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