Marjorie Racine Brown, 89, of Longboat Key, died Saturday, April 3.
Born Oct. 20, 1920, in Grand Rapids, Mich., she moved to Jackson, Mich., when she was 5 and graduated from Jackson High School. She attended Jackson Junior College and worked for nine years at Consumers Power Co. before her marriage to Jim Brown in 1947.
In Jackson, Mrs. Brown was president of Mercy Hospital Auxiliary and served twice as chair of the hospital’s Pink Ball. She served as president of Sigma Delta Tau Society, the Jack and Jill Child Study Club and St. Gerard’s Circle at Queen of the Miraculous Medal Church and as vice president of the Queen’s School Mothers Club.
The Browns left Jackson in 1962 and moved to Longboat Key in 1976. On Longboat Key, Mr. Brown, a longtime newspaperman, served four terms as mayor. In all, he ran six political campaigns, each of which she managed. In one of her most successful stunts, she dressed as Pierrot the Clown and strapped a tray of brownies she had made over her shoulders and moved through the audience at a political rally with a sign that read: “Have a brownie on Brown.”
Mr. Brown joked that if his wife had only been able to make enough brownies, he would have won that election.
Mrs. Brown was best known as the “fisherwoman of Longboat Key,” going out daily alone in her boat and working the sandbars off of Country Club Shores, catching fish when no one else could.
She was president of the St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church Women’s Guild, a Eucharistic minister and the parish’s first woman acolyte. She was known for her crafts and watercolors and sold many of her paintings at the St. Mary Christmas Bazaar, donating the proceeds to the Women’s Guild. She served as president of Country Club Shores Unit III Association and the Striking Girls Bowling League in Sarasota and as a captain in the Sarasota County heart and cancer campaigns.
Together, Mr. and Mrs. Brown revived the St. Jude Gourmet Luncheon, which has become Longboat Key’s largest charity event. Mrs. Brown served three years as chair of the event.
Mrs. Brown is survived by her husband of 62 years, Jim; sons James III, of San Diego, and Charles, of Arlington, Va.; daughter, Victoria Rico, of Rohnert Park, Calif.; sister, Mrs. Hugh Lee, of Danbury, Conn.; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
A service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 8, at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church, 4280 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Donations can be made to the St. Jude Gourmet Luncheon c/o Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key, P.O. Box 8097, Longboat Key, Fla. 34228, or TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care Inc., 1751 Mound St., Sarasota, Fla. 34236.
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