October 10, 1928November 16, 2018

Margaret Howard McCracken Brown passed away on the night of Friday, November 16, in the Huntsville, Ala. residence of her daughter, Jane Wesley, and under hospice care. She was 90 years old. The cause of death was congestive heart failure, but she had suffered from increasingly crippling arthritis for the previous eight years. Born on October 10, 1928, she grew up in Eutaw, Ala., as a member of a prominent Greene County family. Her grandfather, J.D. Steele, was the largest private land owner in the state until the 1950s. Her great-grandmother, Jane Robertson Howard, was a descendent of James “Horseshoe” Robertson, a once famous scout in the Revolutionary War army of Nathaniel Greene. She attended Fairfax Hall, a girl’s boarding school in Waynesboro, Va., Finch College, a women’s college in Manhattan, where her student housing was located on Park Avenue, and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she earned a B.A. in 1950, majoring in history and minoring in French, and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. That same year, she married UA classmate Joe Allen Brown, a native of Fayette, Ala. The early years of her marriage took her to New Orleans and Chicago, where her husband suffered a health crisis that necessitated a return to her hometown. They had three children in Eutaw—Allen, David, and Jane—and Mr. Brown began a long career there with Alabama Power Company. That career took the family to Montgomery briefly and then to Tuscaloosa, where Allen matriculated at UA and David and Jane graduated from high school before attending college in Chapel Hill, N.C. and Washington D.C. respectively. Never entirely satisfied when exclusively relegated to the domestic sphere, she began working outside the home in the 1970s, first at the 1st National Bank of Tuscaloosa in a public relations position she held for ten years. After her marriage ended in divorce in 1983, she briefly co-owned and ran a gift shop in Tuscaloosa with a close friend. In 1986, she moved to Montgomery for a position in real estate sales. She returned to Tuscaloosa in 1990, where she worked in the office of UA administrator Dr. John Blackburn. In 2000, her passionate, lifelong love for the Gulf coast inspired her to move to Fairhope, Ala. Five years later, advancing age and close encounters with two hurricanes prompted a move to Huntsville, where her son, David, was a longtime resident. Her daughter, Jane, moved there the following year. Her eldest child, Allen, died of cancer in 2011. She is survived by two children, David Brown and Jane Wesley, daughter in law Deborah Brown of Panama City, Fla., and grandson Stuart Brown (Regina) of Jacksonville, Fla. The family is honoring her strongly expressed wish that there be no funeral or memorial service. She arranged for a full body donation to a non-profit in Memphis for medical research purposes. After a time, her cremated ashes will be returned to the family. In light of her increasing alarm over the state of politics in America, she suggested that those wishing to honor her memory make donations to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).


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