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1920 - 2019
Mary Ann Brown, 'Marianita or Nita,' age 99, died peacefully in her sleep on October 2, 2019 in Gainesville, Florida.
Born in Colon, Panama in 1920, she lived a long and vibrant life. Born the first child to Boston engineer, Francis Gregory Cain, who moved to Panama to work on the Canal and, Mariana Delgado Cain of Panama she was oldest of six children. Mary Ann, spoke English to her father and Spanish to her mother granting her a natural skill for mastering languages.
After high school, she entered Radcliff College in Boston, where she majored in Romance languages studying Spanish, French and Italian. While there she attended classes at Harvard and even studied under Robert Frost as a professor in Freshman English. Mary Ann's graduating class was the first Radcliff 'War' class of World War II. She was hired as a linguist at J. Edgar Hoover's FBI office in New York City. Upon accepting a job, she was told to master Portuguese, which she did.
After three years she returned to Panama where she worked for the Commander of the U.S. Submarine Fleet stationed to Panama. There she caught the eye of a handsome Army officer, William A. Brown, 'Bill'. After a six-month courtship, they married. Bill's promising military career moved them and their family 22 times during his Army career. Assignments carried them to locales ranging from Panama early on, to the Commandant's office in Berlin, to the JFK White House in Washington, D.C. Each post offered rare opportunities for all to experience. Mary Ann always stressed to her children that they should remember every day. Indeed, her advice afforded the family many fond memories.
In 1965, Mary Ann and family followed Bill to Orlando, Florida. As children grew and left home, Mary Ann devoted her talents to encouraging Bill in numerous jobs and pursuits. Together, she and Bill formed Brown and Associates, a consulting firm that evaluated and trained managers in various industries for 25 years. Most memorable, were the years they worked with Walt Disney World in creating training programs that are still used with the park's current staff at Disney University.
In 2009, Mary Ann encouraged Bill to finally really retire and move to Gainesville to live near family. Following Bill's death in 2013, she remained in her home caring for herself independently until her last days. Of all the places she lived, she claimed Gainesville was her favorite. Mary Ann never knew a stranger. Everyone who met her welcomed her company and spontaneous spirit.
Mary Ann Brown 'Nita' of Gainesville is survived by Mariana 'Pidge' Boyles (Jesse) of Gainesville; Andrew Brown (Jody) of Vero Beach; and William Brown of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She is also survived by grandchildren, Carrie Saunders and Michael Boyles of Jacksonville Beach; Kaitlyn, Sarah and Andrew Brown of Vero Beach; and Anna Stevens (Talbot) of Ft. Lauderdale; plus, two great granddaughters, who brought her great delight and joy - Mariana and Jennifer Saunders of Jacksonville Beach. Also surviving Mary Ann is her baby sister, Alice Angotti of Maitland, Florida and her beautiful children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The Brown family wants to give special thanks to Suzanne Wood who cared so lovingly for Mary Ann her last weeks. In addition, the family thanks Sophia and her team at Mini Maids and the men of the Fire and Rescue Station 16 at 1600 Ft. Clarke Blvd. who so graciously helped Mary Ann.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Haven Hospice 4200 NW 90th Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32606. A celebration of Mary Ann's life will take place at a later date. Please visit her memorial page at
Published in Gainesville Sun on Nov. 3, 2019
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