Mary M. "Sis" Brown, 89, of Dalton, passed away at Hamilton Medical Center on Saturday, July 8, 2017, finally being reunited with the joy of her life, her husband James E. Brown, who preceded her in death in March 2004. She passed away one day prior to her 90th birthday.
Mary, much better known as "Sis," spent her formative years in Oneida, Tenn. There she enjoyed the fellowship of her family, including parents, Walter Thomas Morris and Linda Mays Morris and her six brothers, Jack, Cecil, Lester, Ray, Howard and James Morris. She was the youngest of her siblings and the only female, hence the nickname "Sis." She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings.
Growing up in rural Tennessee during the Great Depression was challenging, but Sis conquered that adversity with ease, a prelude to a lifetime of meeting challenges head on and putting them aside to accomplish great things for her family, business and community. Oneida was a small community and didn't offer all the opportunities that one might have enjoyed in larger locales. Her brothers joined the local Boy Scout troop, but there was no Girl Scout troop for Sis. So, Sis joined the Boy Scouts! As she reached adulthood, she helped out in the war effort by working as a telegraph operator in Oneida. No task was too great for Sis!
Following the war, one of her brothers moved to Dalton and found work with a local supply company. Sis made her way to Dalton too, and here she met her soul mate of 55 years, James E. Brown. They married in 1949 and soon started a family, then started a business and therein began a legacy of community giving that has been unceasing for over 60 years. James and Sis and a few other partners essentially invented the carpet sample industry in the 1950s; many attributes of the system they developed are still used in today's industry. In 1958, James and Sis formed Brown Printing, which has evolved over the years into what is today Brown Industries. Thousands of employees have been impacted by this company, their very livelihoods possible due to the business acumen of this couple and the thriving industry they had a part in founding. At her death, Sis was one of two original employees from 1958 still working at the company.
Behind the scenes, this couple made an even larger impact on our community through their charitable philanthropy. Sis was very active in supporting Hamilton Medical Center through the Gray Lady volunteer program and was a co-founder of the Alzheimer's Auxiliary (which provides support to families afflicted by this insidious disease). She was very active in her church, Dalton First United Methodist, and with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of Northwest Georgia.
However, in the years following the passing of James, she achieved some of her greatest charitable endeavors. She was instrumental in the activities of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, serving as a trustee of the Dalton/Whitfield County board and making numerous charitable grants through a donor-advised fund she and James established there. In 2005, she joined the executive committee of the Dalton State College Foundation and, subsequently, chaired the largest and most successful fundraising campaign in that organization's history (easily surpassing the $16 million goal, eventually raising $21 million!). She truly lived by the Golden Rule and her community has benefited as a result.
Her survivors include her daughter and son-in law, Lynn and Keith Whitworth; a grandson and wife, Chip and Micheala Whitworth; a granddaughter and husband, Tracee and Joel Reynolds; three great-grandchildren, Alex Whitworth, Reese Reynolds and Jolie Reynolds, nephews and nieces, many friends and her employees/co-workers at Brown Industries, who will miss her most dearly.
Services are Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Dalton First United Methodist Church with Dr. Tommy Willingham officiating.
A private graveside service will be in West Hill Cemetery.
The family will receive friends in the atrium of the church on Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
The family requests flowers be omitted and memorials may be made to Dalton First United Methodist Church, 500 S. Thornton Ave., Dalton, GA 30720 or to Dalton State College Foundation, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA 30720.
Words of comfort may be sent to the family at www.lovefuneralhomega.com.
Love Funeral Home, 1402 N. Thornton Ave., Dalton, is in charge of arrangements.
Published on July 8, 2017