Betty T. Brown of Efland, 93, died November 24, 2017. She was born in Richmond County, NC to Marshall M. and Dora B. Tilley and graduated from Hoffman High School in 1941. In 1945, she graduated from Women’s College (now UNC-Greensboro). Betty met Charles A. Brown in 1947 and they married in 1948. Betty and Charlie had three sons. Gordon was born July 1950 “on the way to the Korean War” since Charlie, a World War II veteran and Reserve officer, had received orders. They moved to three duty stations before Charlie was posted to San Francisco, living in Berkeley. Returning to North Carolina, they settled in Efland. Doug was born in 1953 and Mike, in 1958.
Betty clothed, fed and principled three active boys with big appetites. She also worked full time, first as a legal secretary and then as executive secretary for the Home Insurance Agency in Durham. As the boys got older, she undertook important community work, including her service as an influential member of the Committee of 100 which guided desegregation of public schools in Orange County.
Betty was Charlie’s wife, best friend and partner in every respect. Although raised in a loving Baptist Church in Hoffman, when Charlie embraced the Efland Methodist Church, she did too.
Charlie retired in 1979 and Betty left her job to spend more time with him, a second honeymoon, cut short by his death in 1982. Although she had lost the love of her life, she was sustained by faith and community. She became a tax preparer, avid Red Hat group member, a respected leader within her Church and traveled extensively with family and friends (“from Nome to Rome”). An eight-time grandmother, she hosted, for decades, special family weeks at Sunset Beach and gatherings at the family home, Seven Mile Farm.
After retiring from tax work, she began a new career as a volunteer. For years she crisscrossed western Orange County bringing meals-on-wheels, a smile and companionship to many — “Here comes Miss Betty in her SUV.” She read to and mentored elementary school children and led the Church’s year-long centennial observance in 2004. Betty was a member of the “Busy Fingers” quilting group, the Women’s Circle and, more recently, her Daily Bread Devotional group. For years she helped plan and host Church receptions in the Fellowship Hall and participated in many other projects and committee assignments.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her brother-in-law Douglas Ray Brown of Charleston, SC. She is survived by her brother Marshall M. (“Mott”) Tilley, Jr. and sister-in-law Ann Tilley of Charlotte, and sister-in-law Margie C. Brown of Charleston, by three sons: Charles Gordon Brown (LeAnn) of Chapel Hill, Douglas Marshall Brown (Kathie) of Hillsborough and Michael Ray Brown (Cathy) of Rockingham; by eight grandchildren: Charles M. (“Chip”) Brown (Alyssa) of Portland, OR; Virginia Brown Mallory (Sean) of Eugene, OR; James Braxton (“Brac”) Webb of Pittsburgh, PA; James Gordon Brown of West End, NC; Jordan Douglas Brown (Samantha) of Apex, NC; John Marshall Brown of Frederick, MD; Edward Austin Webb (Mallory) of Pittsburgh, PA; Michelle Ray Brown (Woody) of Hamlet, NC, and by four great-grandchildren: Sidney T. Brown and Hayden C. Brown of Portland, OR; Avery R. Upchurch of Hamlet, NC and Morgan H. Brown of Apex, NC. Betty is also survived by nieces and nephews of whom she was very fond: Beverly Brown Dunbar (Pat) of Chapin, SC; Linda Brown Scott (Danny) of Charleston, SC; Marshall M. (“Marty”) Tilley, III of Sarasota, FL; and Tracey T. Davant (Milburn) of Charlotte, NC and great nieces and nephews too numerous to mention.
Betty’s life will be celebrated at a memorial service to be held at the Efland United Methodist Church, 3418 US Highway 70 W, Efland on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. with a reception to follow in the Fellowship Hall. The Rev. Lori Higgins and the Rev. Cindy Lister will lead the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial offerings may be made to the Efland United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 121, Efland, NC 27243 or to Meals on Wheels c/o Orange Congregations in Mission, 300 Millstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278. Arrangements are by Clements Funeral Home, Hillsborough, NC.