OBITUARY

Mary "Modena" Brown

May 7, 1932January 9, 2021
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Mary Modena Penland Brown, age 88, of Chattanooga, passed away Saturday, January 9, 2021 in a local assisted living.

She was born May 7, 1932 in Asheville, NC to the late Charles Nelson and Bertha Mae Penland. She grew up in a large and loving family, the youngest of nine children. She graduated high school from the Plonk School of Creative Arts, where she learned a love for drama and performance.

She received dual Bachelors degrees of Education and of Religious Education through attendance at Asheville Biltmore Tech, Converse College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Masters of Education from Western Carolina. She was a former teacher at A. C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, N.C., where she taught English and Drama, directing her school’s Drama Department to win several awards for various productions. She went on to teach English at Alcoa High School in Alcoa, TN. She later taught English and CDC classes at Ringgold High School in Ringgold, GA, from 1982 until retiring in 1998. She was loved by all of her students and coworkers, earning her the honor of being named Teacher of the Year during her time at Ringgold. After retiring, she maintained her teaching certificate and continued to work regularly as a substitute teacher at Ringgold High School until 2018.

Her husband, Walter “Larry” Brown, and siblings, Blanche Louele Pruett, Evelyn Margurite Penland Blau, Bertha Mae (AKA Jackie) Penland, Johnny Getty Penland, Paul Lee Penland, Charles Lemuel (AKA Bill) Penland, and James Penland preceded her in death.

Mrs. Brown was a longtime member of Christ United Methodist Church where she was actively involved in a variety of groups and ministries throughout the years. She was most recently active with the JOY Group, where she helped coordinate attendance and served as an emissary for welcoming new members from the church and surrounding community. Mrs. Brown is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Becca & Craig McClure of Ooltewah, TN; brother, Garrett Eugene (Mary June) Penland of Arden, NC; and numerous nieces and nephews. She will be remembered by family and friends as a bright spirit who devoted herself to uplifting others and who knew no strangers, but welcomed everyone, new friends and old, into her circle of light. She was a loving mother, wife, sister, friend, teacher, and mentor, with a forgiving spirit and the ability to weather life’s challenges with grace and positivity. Her loving influence will be greatly missed, but will live on through all who have had the honor to know her.

A private service will be live-streamed on Facebook Live on the Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel’s Facebook page. You may join Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/Chattanooga-Funeral-Home-Crematory-Florist-East-Brainerd-Chapel.

Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery, 53 Birch Street, Asheville, NC 28801, on Friday, January 15, at a time as yet to be determined.

Memorial contributions may be made to Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421.

Arrangements are by the East Brainerd Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory & Florist, 8214 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421.

Please share your thoughts and memories at www.ChattanoogaEastBrainerdChapel.com.

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  • Christ United Methodist Church

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Mary "Modena" Brown

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Tori Harrell Poe

January 18, 2021

She was one of my favorite teachers in high school. I was in her very first class at Ringgold High School. Thoughts and prayers for the family.

Ethel Jacobson

January 18, 2021

Becca, just wanted to write a note and let you know that I knew your Mom when we were working together at AC Reynolds High., long before she ever became Modena Brown. She was already teaching when I arrived in the fall of 1963 as the librarian and we worked together until she left in the spring of 1967. She and I had many good times together, she was one more talented Drama and English teacher. I know, because she always wanted me to help her when she took the students to Western Carolina, Mars Hill and Chapel Hill for the competitions of the wonderful plays that the students did. I don't believe she missed a year after winning competitions in the West that we didn't get to go on to Chapel Hill, and we didn't take just 1 play, but usually 2 or 3 that had won. She loved teaching and she loved the kids, and they adored her. She and I have attended many class reunions through the years, and as soon as she walked in, you would hear someone say, "Here comes, Modena, or there's Miss Penland. " Sometimes I am sure she hardly got to eat any of her meal. When I returned to work in the fall of 1967 your Mom had gotten married to your Dad and gone to Tenn. to live. A faculty member that many of us missed too. I put your Mom's obituary on my Facebook page, Ethel Jacobson, and many students responded saying how much they loved your Mom's English and Drama classes. Some other students also shared it on the class page and I think on the AC Reynolds Alumni page. Just know that your Mom was a much loved lady and will be missed. If you heard your Mom ever talk about "Jake" that would be me. Hugs and love, "Jake"

Drew & Linda Wagner

January 17, 2021

It was always a pleasure to talk with Modena. She always had a smile, always spoke positive about everyone, and always knew the history of our family. After our conversations we always left with a good feeling. She was an impressive Sunday School teacher - we learned a lot from her. She is deeply missed.

Benita Jay Johnson

January 13, 2021

I was lucky enough to have “Mo” for English at Ringgold High School at 8:00 in the morning! It was never boring and she definitely kept us all awake, even if it meant standing to do our “finger exercises”. After graduation I eventually returned to Catoosa County to work for the Board of Education and I had the pleasure of meeting with Mo several times and we were able to catch up. She always had an adventure she was just returning from or one she was about to leave on. She was always so excited and animated with her stories and it made you love her that much more! And that smile! I know she is traveling the streets of gold in her convertible with the wind blowing through her hair, I can hear her laughter!

Verna Dawson

January 13, 2021

We have known Modena for years at Christ UMC. She did so many things at church and will be so missed. years ago when she led the childrens choir, she talked our daughter, Dawn, into playing the piano for her little group. I think it was good for Dawn who was a shy teenager at the time. We all have great memories of Modena.
Verna & Kenneth Dawson

Carolyn Alexander McLemore

January 13, 2021

I was so sorry to hear of Ms. Brown’s passing. She was a favorite teacher of mine at AC Reynolds High in Asheville NC. I loved sitting in her classes as she talked about important authors and literary readings. She instilled the love of reading and writing and was my inspiration to becoming a reading and English teacher as well. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. So sorry for your loss. May God bless you all.

Sam Crowe

January 13, 2021

I remember the holiday gatherings (McClure) when Modena would always arrive with a smile on her face. Modena never met a stranger and was never at a loss for words...as anyone who sat near her on a couch or at the dinner table would know! A genuine and kind person who cared for anyone she ever met, and with a memory like a steel trap. The kindness and caring demonstrated by Modena throughout her life shines through in her daughter, Becca, who carries on these wonderful qualities of Modena.

Becca-I know your Mom is happy and in better place, reunited with your Dad. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Love Sam

jan hendrix

January 12, 2021

Becca and all, I taught with Modena for several years at Ringgold High School. I thought she was just wonderful as a teacher and friend. I know that her students were well prepared when they left her class. She was All Business with a good deal of understanding (and humor) for her students. In fact, that was one of the things I really liked about Mo. She had a wonderful sense of humor and her timing was great!
So sorry to read of her passing. My thoughts are with you and her family and friends.
Jan D. Hendrix

David Hall

January 12, 2021

Modena loved her church, and she was always involved and engaged in our ministries. When I preached, she would affirm me in a way that I could see she had really listened to the message and got it. She always got it! We will miss her bright smile and encouragement, but we will not forget her. Becca, may God comfort you and Craig during this time.

Linda Walker

January 12, 2021

Modena was one of a kind! I loved her stories. Initially, I knew her when she was a substitute teacher and I was a new teacher at Ringgold High, but over the years we continued communications. She always had such spirit and care for the people around her. The world was a stage for her, but the world did not revolve around her. There was always a lesson to be learned if you listened and she listened and would reteach lessons learned . She was a giving person as seen through her continuing to give back to the Ringgold community for years after her active teaching career had moved to a new stage of life. Modena always liked to keep busy, by keeping busy it kept her young at heart. The last time I saw Modena she was at PetSmart and was buying cat food for the cat at her assisted living center...just her new arena of giving back...I am sure her pet appreciated her as much as I appreciated her over the years. Now, she has moved on to a new stage and I am sure she is a star and is shining brightly!

FROM THE FAMILY
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FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Mary Modena Penland Brown, age 88, of Chattanooga, passed away Saturday, January 9, 2021 in a local assisted living.

She was born May 7, 1932 in Asheville, NC to the late Charles Nelson and Bertha Mae Penland. She grew up in a large and loving family, the youngest of nine children. She graduated high school from the Plonk School of Creative Arts, where she learned a love for drama and performance.

She received dual Bachelors degrees of Education and of Religious Education through attendance at Asheville Biltmore Tech, Converse College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Masters of Education from Western Carolina. She was a former teacher at A. C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, N.C., where she taught English and Drama, directing her school’s Drama Department to win several awards for various productions. She went on to teach English at Alcoa High School in Alcoa, TN. She later taught English and CDC classes at Ringgold High School in Ringgold, GA, from 1982 until retiring in 1998. She was loved by all of her students and coworkers, earning her the honor of being named Teacher of the Year during her time at Ringgold. After retiring, she maintained her teaching certificate and continued to work regularly as a substitute teacher at Ringgold High School until 2018.

Her husband, Walter “Larry” Brown, and siblings, Blanche Louele Pruett, Evelyn Margurite Penland Blau, Bertha Mae (AKA Jackie) Penland, Johnny Getty Penland, Paul Lee Penland, Charles Lemuel (AKA Bill) Penland, and James Penland preceded her in death.

Mrs. Brown was a longtime member of Christ United Methodist Church where she was actively involved in a variety of groups and ministries throughout the years. She was most recently active with the JOY Group, where she helped coordinate attendance and served as an emissary for welcoming new members from the church and surrounding community.

Mrs. Brown is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Becca & Craig McClure of Ooltewah, TN; brother, Garrett Eugene (Mary June) Penland of Arden, NC; and numerous nieces and nephews. She will be remembered by family and friends as a bright spirit who devoted herself to uplifting others and who knew no strangers, but welcomed everyone, new friends and old, into her circle of light. She was a loving mother, wife, sister, friend, teacher, and mentor, with a forgiving spirit and the ability to weather life’s challenges with grace and positivity. Her loving influence will be greatly missed, but will live on through all who have had the honor to know her.

A private service will be live-streamed on Facebook Live on the Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel’s Facebook page. You may join Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/Chattanooga-Funeral-Home-Crematory-Florist-East-Brainerd-Chapel.

Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery, 53 Birch Street, Asheville, NC 28801, on Friday, January 15, at a time as yet to be determined.

Memorial contributions may be made to Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421.

Arrangements are by the East Brainerd Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory & Florist, 8214 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421.

Please share your thoughts and memories at www.ChattanoogaEastBrainerdChapel.com.