March 17, 1920 – August 15, 2016
Mildred Brown, born on St. Patricks Day in 1920, passed away on August 15, 2016, at her home on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Her parents, Albert Ausmus and Emma Waters Ausmus, lived in Brown County, Illinois when Mildred was born. Like her mother, Mildred lived a long life. Her mother, Emma, was able to celebrate her 95th birthday. Mildred celebrated her 96th earlier this year. She and her (now deceased) sister, Verna, and a brother, Homer, were the only three of 8 children to survive. Homer died at the age of 2.
Mildred attended Western Illinois University. Upon graduating from a 2 year program with a teacher’s certificate, she taught in a one room schoolhouse near her parents’ home for a year before accepting a teaching position in Dixon, Illinois…seemingly a million miles from Brown County. While volunteering to serve at a dinner at the Methodist Church in Dixon, she met a young local man, Russell Brown, who was also serving that evening. Mildred and Russell married on June 8, 1947. They moved to Polo, Illinois, in 1948, where they owned and operated the Polo Furniture Store and Brown-Seidel Funeral Home with partners, Don and Irma Seidel. In the 1970’s Mildred rode a bus to Chicago on Saturdays to attend Pestalozzi-Froebel Teachers College where she earned her 4-year Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Mildred taught 4th grade in Polo for 18 years until her retirement in 1977. She taught for a total of 24 years.
Mildred and Russell were long-time active members in the Polo United Methodist Church. After Russell died on November 3, 1993, Mildred remained in Polo until 2009, when she moved to Martha’s Vineyard to live near her daughter, Rita and her partner, Jan Casey. Mildred attended the Unitarian Universalist Society of Vineyard Haven, and she went faithfully to Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living 4 days a week for the last 6 1/2 years…a huge “Thank you” to Leslie Clapp, Executive Director, Eileen Murphy, Program Supervisor, to Susan Habekost, Program Activities Coordinator, and to the staff for making Mildred part of their family. “Age is a reality but old is a state of mind.” (C.S. Lewis)
Thanks and blessings go to extended family members…to Donna McElroy, who lived with Mildred the last year & a half and became a great friend & caregiver; to the late Bev Shuman, Ron Shuman & family, who did so much with and for Mildred, particularly during her years living alone in Polo after Russell died; to Nancy Barlosky, a devoted friend and caregiver during her years on Martha’s Vineyard; and to Alex & John Habekost, Mildred’s honorary grandchildren on Martha’s Vineyard; to The Lift drivers who drove her to the MV Center for Living each day; and to the staff at the Plane View at Martha’s Vineyard Airport – a favorite lunch spot.
Mildred is survived by her family…Rita Brown & Jan Casey (Martha’s Vineyard), Bob & Linda Brown (Macon, Georgia), by grandchildren Ryan & Cortney Eiland (Destin, Florida), and Russ & Katherine Eiland (Huntsville, Alabama), by great-grandchildren, Connor, Emma, John, & Max, and by host of grand-dogs and cats.
A graveside service for Mildred will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon, Illinois on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. She will be buried next to her husband Russell.
There will be memorial celebration at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard later this fall. Reverend Fernando Siaba, former Pastor at Polo UMC, will lead the service at Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon, Illinois. Polo Family Funeral Home (formerly Brown-Seidel Funeral Home) is in charge of the arrangements in Illinois.
If you wish to make a donation in her memory, Mildred would be most honored with a gift to to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard, PO Box 1236, Vineyard Haven, MA 02539 or to the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living…www.mvcenter4living.org
“Never regret growing old, many are denied the privilege.”
Condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.