Mary S. Brown

After suffering a series of strokes over seven years, which left her debilitated, Mary S. Brown mercifully succumbed to her "Old friend, waiting to wrap me in a 'Blanket of Peace' wafting me into the Great Unknown." Born on a farm in Saffordville, Kan. in 1916 she became determined to go to college at an early age and in 1942 she graduated from Kansas State. During that time she met her future husband, Paul Brown but they decided not to marry until the war was over. Mary taught high school home economics during the war and married Paul upon his return from the Pacific in 1945. In 1956 the Brown family of four piled into their brand new 1956 fire-engine red Chevy and moved to Bozeman where Paul worked as a soil scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From that day forward the Bridgers became "her mountains."

Mary worked as the County Home Demonstration Agent, judging foods and sewing at the Winter Fair, and she was active in Methodist church activities. Each year, she and Paul cultivated a large vegetable garden (an ice rink by winter), she kept alive the art of canning, and in a 30 gallon steel drum buried near the back porch she stored carrots that stayed fresh and crisp through the winter and on into spring. The weekend after Thanksgiving, she and Paul hosted a "Christmas tree party" which saw seven families heading into the mountains to cut trees together, after which everyone gathered in the Brown's basement for a chili supper.

In 1968 Mary began pursuing a master's degree at MSU, graduating three years later with a perfect 4.0 GPA. After graduation she became the director of the Pilgrim Congregational Pre-School, a position she thoroughly enjoyed.

When Paul's work took him to Ft Benton, she moved away from "her mountains" for seven years, returning in 1983. Paul died in 2001. Mary was active with tax preparation at the Senior Center until her first stroke. In lucid moments she would say, "I'm ready to go" but her strong heart and warm countenance prevailed.

She is survived by her two sons, Douglas (Bellingham, Wash.) and Richard (Bozeman) and three grandsons: Spencer, Nicholas, and Julian. A memorial service will be held at the First Methodist Church in the spring.

Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 21, 2014