Joan H. Brown
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MANSFIELD: The community lost one of its civic leaders and a multi-talented person with the passing of Joan H. Brown, 80, on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at Liberty Nursing Center.
She was born in New Bremen, Ohio to John and Evelyn Franks, October 24, 1932, and grew up in Piqua, Ohio where she graduated from it's high school in 1950 as a member of the National Honor Society and Quill and Scroll and other honors. That tenacity to excel followed her all the days of her life. Out of high school she was employed by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base doing armament calculations for the Korean War. Her then-to-be husband, John T. Brown volunteered in the Air Force and after four years they moved to Columbus for him to pursue a legal education. At this time she was employed in a number of executive secretary positions.
The family relocated to Mansfield in 1958 where she plunged into cultured and civic activities while raising their three sons, all of whom she taught to read before the first grade. She was active in the Mansfield Fine Arts Guild, United Way, Community Players, Mansfield Symphony, Orchestra (Pres.), Planned Parenthood, Founder of Women's Political Coalition, Bar Auxiliary (Pres.), Colony Club (Pres.), United Arts Council, Founded Enrichment Series at YWCA, Mansfield Art Center, Republican Party (chairwoman), MENSA, and the Mental Health Board.
In 1964, on a dare, she entered the Mrs. America contest, however after winning at the first three geographic levels, she was confronted by the organizers with a proposed contract should she win Mrs. Ohio, and decided to drop out because as she said, "they wanted to own me".
In 1969 she was hired by the News Journal as television and religion editor, later as chief feature writer, then to investigative reporter. She won seven writing contests in diversified fields against all major Ohio newspapers and received honorable mention from the Association Press. She was offered a job with the Chicago Tribune. In the 70's she was listed in "Who's Who Among American Women."
Joan continued her education later in life and received a BA in psychology, magna cum laude at Ashland University and attended The Ohio State University on a presidential scholarship where she received a Masters degree in social work with honors. She then worked as a counselor at the Center where she undertook a number of other responsibilities for five years, after which she went into private practice as a licensed independent social worker. She attracted a large cliental, a good number of who came on a program provided by General Motors. After a number of years with the advent and frustrations of 'managed care', she felt compelled to retire. While in practice she was appointed by two different Ohio governors to two Ohio commissions involving mental health. All through the foregoing times, she was in demand as a public speaker and entertainer. Her skills went further. There were acting awards, art and sculpture awards, and she authored two published books, "Putting Mother Down" and "The Date Mate Column". There are others that were never submitted. In between, she and her husband have traveled to five continents and 28 countries.
She is survived by her husband of 60 years, John T. Brown of Mansfield; sons, John M. Brown and Jeffrey (Bonnie) Brown; brother, James Franks and his son, Andy; and sister, Carol (Dick) Jelley and their daughter, Linda. She was preceded in death by her parents and her oldest son, James R. Brown.
Quite some time ago she requested cremation, no funeral services, and a private graveside family ceremony. Those wishes are being followed. Any memorial contributions should be made to the donor's charity or arts organization of choice. Wappner Funeral Directors is privileged to serve the family of Joan H. Brown.
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Published in the News Journal on Nov. 21, 2012