Harriet Brown Isbell
February 3, 1938 – March 2, 2019
Reverend Harriet Rose Brown Isbell, age 81, passed away peacefully in her home in the company of her daughters on March 2, 2019. Harriet was born in Sebring, Florida, February 3, 1938 to Harry T. Brown and Mildred O. Brown. She grew up in Jacksonville, Florida with her parents and three brothers, Murray, Tim, and Mike. Following high school graduation, Harriet attended Queens College in Charlotte, NC where she graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies. Her first job following college was as Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Bartow, Florida. It was here that she met her husband, Lawrence Randall Isbell, Jr. Harriet and Larry were married in 1961 and moved to Chapel Hill, NC shortly after their marriage where Harriet accepted a position as Director of Christian Education at University Presbyterian Church. After a few years in Chapel Hill she returned to Florida where she worked as an elementary teacher in Bartow, Tavares, and Sebring and then became director of the St Johns Presbyterian kindergarten and preschool program in Jacksonville, FL. During these years in Florida, Harriet’s two daughters, Elizabeth and Rebecca were born. In 1972, Harriet moved back to Chapel Hill, NC with her family and created a new preschool/kindergarten at University Presbyterian Church. This endeavor required her to obtain a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education which she completed in 1973 at Durham’s Central University. Harriet acted as Director of the University Presbyterian Kindergarten until 1975 when she accepted the position of Director of Christian Education at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill. Harriet served this position until 1978 when she and her family moved to Denver, CO. While in Denver, Harriet acted as Director of Christian Education at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church and served in this position until 1982. It was during her time at Montview that Harriet decided she was going to pursue ordination as a minister in the Presbyterian Church. She began her education at Iliff Seminary in Denver. After a year at Iliff, and following her divorce, she was accepted to Duke University and moved back to Chapel Hill, NC with her daughters. She continued her education at Duke while simultaneously working full-time as Director of Christian Education at University Presbyterian Church. Harriet graduated with her Masters of Theology from Duke in 1985 and accepted her first call as associate pastor at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, NC. She served in this position until 1990 and then moved to San Marino California, accepting a position in the San Marino Community Church as Associate Pastor. In 1995, she left California and returned to Chapel Hill, NC, being called as senior pastor for New Hope Presbyterian Church. Harriet served New Hope until she retired ‘Pastor Emerita’ from New Hope in 2006. Harriet then moved to Boulder, Colorado to be closer to family and became involved in St Andrew Presbyterian Church where she acted as the Congregational Care Pastor until November 2018. Harriet was loved by all who knew her. Her spunky wit, gracious optimism and belief in the good in all people made her a joy to be around and a person sought after for advice and guidance. She lived her life guided by her faith, loving her family and friends and celebrating the joy of giving of herself. Harriet is predeceased by her brother Murray T. Brown and survived by her brothers, Timothy O. Brown, Michael L. Brown, daughters Elizabeth I. Smith and Rebecca I. Shaffrey and grandchildren, Rebecca K. Smith, Jackson N. Shaffrey, and Stevie Grace Shaffrey.
A Celebration of Life for Harriet is planned for Sunday, March 10th, 3:30 PM at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 3700 Baseline Rd. Boulder, CO 80303 Reverend Jacqueline Decker Vanderpol and Reverend Stan Adamson presiding. Reception immediately following. At Harriet’s request, any gifts in her memory should be directed to St Andrew Presbyterian Church for Children and Youth Programs
- Celebration of Life Sunday, March 10, 2019
Harriet Brown Isbell
Sally MacLeod Owens
March 6, 2019
To family of Harriet, beloved pastor of West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, I have fond memories of Harriet and her services to West Raleigh Presbyterian Church.
Ann Flintom Ford
March 6, 2019
After getting to know Harriett during her time at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church in North Carolina, Harriet officiated my wedding in the September 2000. I remember my husband and I completed our couples counseling prior to the wedding, taking the compatibility questionnaire. During our review, Harriett was so funny, seeing that we had answered each question almost exactly. With a laugh she said "well, I guess it will work out!" Her wit and her warmth will always be something I will remember.