A parishioner of St. Mary Magdalen Parish for the past 27 years, Colleen Vernelle Brown, one of ten children, was born October 1, 1928, in Washita County, Cordell, Oklahoma.
She departed this life Tuesday January 7, 2014, 6:20 am at her home. Her schooling was interrupted for many years while she underwent major surgeries at Crippled Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City. Refusing to-acknowledge her physical disability, she earned her senior life savings badge and won two gold medals in swimming during her high school years. She graduated from Cordell High School in1948.
Colleen worked for 15 years in the Safety and Security Division of the Boeing Aircraft Company Wichita, Kansas. In 1964 she was transferred to Vandenberg AFB as Administrative Assistant and Funds Manager of the Airforce Logistics Command until 1980. She received several Superior Outstanding awards for her dedicated service.
While living in Santa Maria she graduated from Chapman University with a BA Degree in Business Administration and Economics. Her proudest moments was receiving an Olympic Gold medal for scaling the East Face of Mount Whitney, California, in the late 1960's.
A decision she never regretted, was giving up her career by moving to Chickasha, Ok to take care of our Mother the last five years of her life. After the death of our mother in 1986 she moved to Camarillo living with her sister Phyllis Anderson and working at Dept. Health & Human Services retiring 1987.
Colleen was preceded in death by her parents: Verne Wilbur Brown, Sr. and Blanche Hazle Wilcox Brown; her eldest brothers, V. W. Brown Jr and Colonel Leo F. Brown, Sr.; a younger brother Donnell Wilcox Brown, her eldest sister, Averille J. Brown Peters; four brothers-in-law, Curtis R. Peters, Hercel V. Shultz,Sr., Ronald D. Scharer, and Bennie L. Anderson; three sisters-in-law, Hope McCleery Brown, Alice Jones Brown, and Charlotte Sullivan Brown; one nephew, Gregory A.Shultz; one niece Margaret E. Brown and ex-husband K. L. Millikan.
She leaves behind a loving family: four sisters, Fanita Brown Millikan of Wichita, Kansas; Joanne Brown Shultz-Scharer of Spokane, WA formerly El Centro, CA; Phyllis Brown Anderson of Camarillo, and Mary Cecele Brown Cibula, of Lakewood, WA. and one brother Lynne B. Brown, of Littleton, CO; two brothers-in-law , Thomas E. Millikan of Wichita, Kansas; Lt. Col. George A. Cibula,II (Ret.), of Lakewood, WA; one sister-in-law: Jimmie Lou Elliott Brown, of Littleton, CO: 30 nieces and nephews; 49 grand-nieces and grand-nephews and 21 great-grand nieces and nephews.
Although Colleen had no children of her own, her memories live through her nine brothers & sisters and their families. Colleen was the family historian and correspondent devoting her time to genealogical research and compiled 26 picture albums and charts of the Brown/Wilcox lineage with her sister, Phyllis.
In addition she collected family Poems, Verses, Songs and Thoughts into 139 volumes dating back to the 1800's. From her mother's writings she compiled 2 books: MY OKLAHOMA HERITAGE (1870 - 1916); and THE HOUSE THAT BECAME A HOME (1916 to1984).
Colleen loved poetry and all her life has written many poems full of faith, humor, and love. Blessed with a beautiful pitch-perfect voice, she sang at weddings, funerals and special events for family and friends even our own mother's funeral.
Viewing at 6 p.m. with Rosary at 7 p.m. Friday Jan. 10, 2014 at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park's "Chapel of the Islands".Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Roy Persich at Saint Mary Magdalen Catholic Church on Las Posas Rd. Saturday Jan. 11, 2014, 10 a.m. Burial following at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in her memory to SMM Building fund or to Priests for Life.