Obituary: Sarah Olson Brown Aug. 4, 1939 – Oct. 21, 2022

We have come to the end of a long goodbye with Paul, Marci, and Mark’s mother, Sarah Brown. We cared for her during her decline with Alzheimer’s. It is hard to watch someone who was so full of life wither away as she did, moving from someone who made her living with words, as a professor of English, to having none at all. 

From the “word of the day” that she challenged her children to learn, to demanding that they look up the definitions of words they came across and didn’t know, she unleashed their propensity for language while honing her own. An aptitude that propelled her to earn a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University (1960), a master’s degree from ENMU (1991), and a doctorate degree from Texas Tech (2000). She then taught English at Texas Tech, South Plains College, and the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. Her students, as well as her colleagues cherished her.

Even when Sarah no longer recalled having played the piano, she could sit down and play songs. It was a delight to see her enjoy again a deep passion of her life. She not only excelled as a pianist but shared that passion by teaching others to play. She truly enjoyed sharing with others what she knew and loved. She also used her musicality to serve as an accompanist at the churches she attended. And she used her teaching talents in those same churches, eventually earning credentials to be a lay pastor in the Lutheran Church (2007).

Sarah delighted in learning about new places, meeting new people, experiencing new things, which led her to travel. Whether it was a day trip to enjoy something local, an extended weekend to travel with friends, or a trip to Europe, which she especially enjoyed. She wanted her children to love other places and other people as she did, so she took them along.

Sarah loved most of all, her children (Paul Brown and wife Meredith, Marci Partin and husband Doug, Mark Brown and wife Daelene) and her grandchildren (Kyle Partin and wife Jill, and Lauren Partin). She delighted in their successes and took a genuine interest in whatever interested them.

For those interested in dates: Sarah was born in Enid, OK on August 4, 1939 to Frank and Mary (VanDyke) Olson. She was 19 years younger than her older brother, Frank. She graduated from Enid High School in 1956. After graduating from OCU, she was accepted into a master’s program at NMSU. She withdrew after one semester to marry Paul Brown in 1961. They lived in 11 places before settling in Los Alamos, NM in 1968, where they raised their children. It was after retiring from teaching at UMHB in 2011 that Sarah was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2017. She died peacefully in Santa Fe, NM on October 21, 2022. 

A service of worship and remembrance for Sarah Brown will be held at 9:30 AM at Shepherd King Lutheran Church in Lubbock, Texas on November 14, 2022. Her children will also gather with Sarah’s friends in Los Alamos at a later time, which has not been set. Instead of sending flowers or making a donation to some worthy cause, please use your words to tell someone the story about how you shared part of your life with Sarah Brown, and the impact she made on you.