BARBARA J. (BURT) BROWN; age 88, died August 25, 2011; Barbara was born in Battle Creek, MI, on April 4, 1923. She was the only child born to David C. Burt and Zada E. Abrams. In 1936 the family moved to Jackson, MI where she graduated from high school in 1941. Barbara then attended Michigan State University for two years, and went on to become a Cadet Nurse at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, during World War II. On January 10, 1948 she married Donald F. Brown. They continued to reside in the Chicago area where their two children, Kyle and Craig were born. In 1966 the family moved back to MI, settling in Okemos. While living in Lansing, Barbara served for over 30 years as a Sparrow Hospital Gift Shop volunteer. In 1985 she became the President of the Talbert and Leota Abrams Foundation, which was created by her uncle and aunt in 1962. In addition she served as President and Board member for Abrams Ariel Survey Corporation in Lansing, until its sale in 2003, after 80 years as a family owned business. During Barbara's 26 years as the President of the Abrams Foundation, she has become a leading Philanthropist within MI. Both via the Foundation, as well as personally, Barbara has given back to the people of MI in numerous ways. She has supported many nursing scholarships at Lansing Community College, United Way, The Abrams Planetarium at MSU, Starr Commonwealth, MI and New England Genealogical Societies and the Veterinary School at MSU, to name just a few. For over 30 years, Genealogy has been a passion and a lifestyle for Barbara. To say that she had done extensive research on her ancestral lines was an understatement. When asked how far back she had gone, she simply laughed. For her the search was not only about going back, but about branching out in every direction. She loved her research; to her it was a never-ending puzzle of information. During her Genealogy career, she published two books; "Descendants of Christian Geiger, the Immigrant, 1700-1779" and "The Abraham Family of Lengerich, Germany and The Abrams Family of America". In addition, Barbara's work on the Abrams Foundation built "The Abrams Genealogical Collection" at the Library of Michigan. The "collection", one of the top ten Genealogy Collections in the country, was one of Barbara's proudest accomplishments. Barbara's personal Genealogy Collection will be on indefinite loan to the State Archives of MI. In 2001 Barbara and Don moved to Rochester, MI to be near their family. Don died in October of 2002, and Barbara remained at Sunrise Assisted Living in Rochester, where she resided with her best buddy, Beau the cat. She loved her "tree house" at Sunrise, as she had a room with all windows, looking out over Paint Creek Trail. Barbara's greatest passion and most proud accomplishment was her family. She is survived by her daughter, Kyle Abbott of Rochester; and her son, Craig Brown of Florida; as well two grandchildren, Tiffany Patzer of Shelby Township and Shane (Marcy) Patzer of Hartland. In addition, Barbara was blessed with three great granddaughters, Sophia Patzer (Tiffany) and Riley and Breanna Patzer (Shane). Visitation will be Sunday 1-4 and 6-8 p.m. at Pixley Funeral Home, 322 W. University Drive, Rochester; Funeral Service Monday 10 a.m. at the funeral home. Prior to her death, Barbara asked that those considering a gift of flowers, please consider a donation to the Michigan Humane Society or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Both organizations were close to Barbara's heart and ones that she personally supported. Please leave condolences at
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Published in The Oakland Press on Aug. 26, 2011