Audrey C. Brown
Audrey Catherine (Brockman) Brown, Bonita Springs, Florida, died on January 10, 2020, after a brief illness.
She was 89 years old.
Third of seven children, Audrey was born April 30, 1930, in Oldenburg, Indiana, to Martin and Margaret (Bettice) Brockman. Despite the death of her mother and infant brother when Audrey was barely seven years old, Audrey grew to be a vivacious, loving, and charismatic young woman.
She met her husband of 69 years, Theodore Lawrence Brown ("Ted"), at a parish dance when she was 16 and they married four years later on January 6, 1951, in Oldenburg, Indiana. Audrey and Ted had five children, four children-in-law whom Audrey loved as her own, eight grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.
Audrey and Ted made their home in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, from 1956 until 2001. They were involved in several community organizations focused on social justice, racial equity, and fair housing.
Audrey lived a life of joyful activism and service, volunteering many hours to PTAs, parish councils, eucharistic ministry to homebound people, CCD (youth religious) instruction, Meals on Wheels, and other community service organizations. In Florida, Audrey was active on the Membership Committee at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs and the New Member Committee at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers; she was also active at The Terraces in Bonita Springs as a convenor of the Book Group and member of the Lifestyles Committee.
Audrey embodied the warmest principles of hospitality: welcome and friendship. She was a dedicated partner and support to Ted, hosting neighborhood, graduate student, and academic departmental gatherings with grace and enthusiasm.
Audrey's natural curiosity and a love of ideas led her, throughout her 30s, 40s, and 50s, to accumulate college credits and, at age 56, earn her B.A. in religious studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After college, she served as director of religious education (DRE) at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana, Illinois. Her tenure as DRE brought enrichment and growth in the program as larger numbers of families began to take part for the first time.
Audrey loved singing and dancing, card games, and board games of all varieties (she was a life-long and very skillful bridge player, the undisputed family champion at UpWords, a late-to-the-game but enthusiastic Mah-jongg player, and an intuitive natural at Settlers of Catan). She was an excellent cook, devoting considerable energy to learning new cuisines, but she also reveled in preserving old family recipes. She was a master party planner and especially loved to gather extended family for vacations and celebrations. The summer home on Ross Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, established by Ted and Audrey in 1973, has become a lodestone for family and friends and will continue to radiate her inimitable aura.
Audrey was predeceased by her parents, four brothers (Garin, Leon, Lawrence, and Martin (infant) Brockman), and her son, Philip.
She is survived by her husband; siblings Jack (Sylvia) Brockman of Woodbury, Connecticut, and Sister Mary Margaret, MHSH, of Timonium, Maryland; children (and their spouses) Mary (Reid) Coffield of Portland, Connecticut, Karen (Patrick) Kane of Champaign, Illinois, Jennifer (Ian Ayres) Brown of Branford, Connecticut, and Andrew (Susan) Brown of Portland, Oregon; grandchildren Orus (Jennifer) Coffield, Martin (Melody) Kane, Audrey Ann (Victor) Soria, Peter (Stephanie) Kane, Robert (Amy Weeks) Coffield, Margaret (Pat LaClair) Kane, Henry Ayres-Brown, and Antonia Ayres-Brown; and ten great-grandchildren.
Gifts in her memory may be made to The Audrey C. and Theodore L. Brown Scholarship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (https://giving.illinois.edu) or Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs (https://artcenterbonita.org).
Online memories and condolences can be shared at https://beachwoodsociety.com. Celebrations of life will be held in Illinois and Florida at later dates.
Published on January 14, 2020

Events

Send flowers
in memory of Audrey
Send flowers

Obituary published in

Arrangements by

Beachwood Society Cremation Services

Get directions

Guestbook

Print Guestbook

A place to share condolences and memories.
The guestbook expires on April 13, 2020.

Showing 10 of 7 posts

"Betty" Grimes (Elizabeth G. DeVault)
Jan 21, 2020
Mrs. Brown embodied a kind and welcoming presence to all us neighborhood kids. She ran an organized and artsy house and was there to offer us something healthy to eat. She kept a honey bear on the large breakfast table where I could sneak a bit on my finger! Thank you for being a warm and loving neighborhood Mom. Thank you for the memories Mrs. Brown.
Jim and Sally Dickey
Jan 17, 2020
Ted and Audrey became close friends of ours when we moved to Lighthouse Bay in 2003. We spent many great times together, and remained friends after they moved to several different locations. We send prayers and blessings to Ted and his family.
Ana and Jiri Jonas
Jan 17, 2020
It was a real privilege to know Audrey for more than 50 years, first in Urbana-Champaign and then in Florida. She loved life and transmitted that love to all around her.
Jan 16, 2020
Blue Caribbean was purchased for the family of Audrey C. Brown.  Send flowers
Carol
Jan 15, 2020
Audrey was a kind and caring person and a person I admired. She will be missed by many friends at UUCFM.
Darlene Hirt
Jan 15, 2020
She was a special lady and I always looked forward to her visits to Indiana. I slightly, very slightly, remember her wedding because I was the flower girl.
Joan Hickok
Jan 15, 2020
Audrey was one of my dearest friends,such a kind and loving soul.my deepest condolences to Ted and their lovely family