Green Bay - Betty D. Brown was born May 9, 1925, in Berlin, Wis., to Albert and Caroline (Lena) Domrose. She grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from West Division High School.
Mrs. Brown was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Milwaukee-Downer College. On December 21, 1947, she married Donald E. Brown in Milwaukee and moved to Rochester, N.Y., where her husband was completing his studies for the ministry at Colgate-Rochester Divinity School. The couple later lived in Kingston, N.Y., and Denver, Colo., where Mr. Brown served as pastor of American Baptist churches, before he was called to the pastorate of First Baptist Church in Green Bay in 1960.
Mrs. Brown's first position as a copy editor at the Milwaukee Sentinel was followed by employment as assistant to the public relations director at Bausch and Lomb Optical Company in Rochester. After three years in Green Bay she resumed her career at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, first as a staff reporter and later as women's editor. In 1966 she joined the academic staff of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay Center as public information officer, and two years later became coordinator of news and publications for the new four-year University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She was named director of news services in 1970 and director of news and publications in 1977. Mrs. Brown retired in 1990 and soon afterward completed a memoir of the early years of the University.
After retiring, Mrs. Brown and her husband took many trips overseas. Their travels included short-term work as volunteers in Haiti, Jamaica and southern Italy. Since 2007, Mrs. Brown had been an active member of Union Congregational United Church of Christ. In 2014, the church published Union Church in Ministry, a book Mrs. Brown wrote recounting the story of the congregation's work and worship since 1955.
Music was Mrs. Brown's lifelong avocation. During Mr. Brown's tenure at First Baptist Church, she was director of the adult choir and part-time organist. A violinist, she performed for more than 30 years with the Green Bay Symphony and for 17 years with the Civic Symphony of Green Bay, of which she was a founding member. She also played in local chamber ensembles and pit orchestras for musical productions, including those of the Pamiro Opera Company. As a volunteer, she served as publicist for the opera company and continued in that role, more recently, for the Civic Symphony. She was also a member of the Civic Symphony's board of directors and in earlier years of the executive board of the Civic Music Association.
She and her husband were among the founding members of Planned Parenthood in Green Bay and, years later, of the Learning in Retirement program at UW-Green Bay. Past volunteer positions during a long association with the United Way of Brown County included vice president and communications chairman. She was a board member of the Lawrence University Alumni Association and secretary of the Milwaukee-Downer Class of 1947 after the merger of the college with Lawrence in 1964.
Mrs. Brown is survived by five children, seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and one brother.
The children are the Rev. Rebecca Brown, Arvada, Colo.; Martha Brown(Tony Lam), Milwaukee; John Brown (Tom Regan), Boston, Mass.; Joanne Brown (Michael Olneck), Madison; and Jennifer Brown (Noelle Leonard), Brooklyn, N.Y. Her brother is Donald Domrose (Kay), of Bradenton, Fla., and her sister-in-law is Wanda Domrose, of Kalispell, Mont.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her husband, Rev. Donald E. Brown; her sister, Elaine Hiller; her brother, Robert; brother-in-law, Kirby Hiller, and son-in-law, Andrew Reitz.
Mrs. Brown died peacefully at her home Monday, July 27, 2020. A memorial service will be scheduled in the future. Memorial gifts may be sent to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Foundation in support of the Donald and Betty Brown Endowed Scholarship.
Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from Jul. 30 to Aug. 2, 2020.