Thelma L. Brown

Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Former longtime Juneau resident Thelma L. Brown, 90, died Jan. 8, 2003, in Bellingham, Wash.

She was Born Jan. 18, 1912, in Bellingham to Clyde and Inge Jensen Shriver, and graduated from Bellingham High School in the winter of 1929. Her passion for helping others was honed by her experience in caring for her terminally ill mother who died when Thelma was 16. Thelma took her nurses training at Virginia Mason Hospital where she received her R.N. and in 1935 returned to pursue her degree at the University of Washington. In 1936 she was hired as one of the first public health nurses for the Alaska Territory. Thelma served as a public health nurse throughout much of Alaska, frequently traveling by bush plane to provide care to people in outlying areas. She met Harold Brown at the float plane dock in Juneau in 1936 and they were married on June 3, 1937. She continued her career in public health until 1943 when the couple started their family. The family had a cabin at Lena Cove for many years. Upon Harold's retirement in 1973, the couple relocated to Bellingham where they wintered. Summers were spent at their log cabin in Atlin, B.C. They enjoyed a wonderful retirement together until Harold's death in 1988. She continued to travel with close friends and family.

She was active in the Order of Eastern Star in which she served as Worthy Grand Matron. She was a chapter advisor to the Rainbow Girls and participated in St. Anne's Guild at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Juneau for many years, and was a member of Pioneers of Alaska, Igloo 6 and the Juneau Garden Club.

Her family said Thelma was a strong, independent woman who devoted much of her life to looking after the needs of others. She maintained a wonderful sense of humor. They said Thelma was sustained by her faith and love of God.

She was preceded in death by her husband and her brother, Lester "Bud" Shriver.

She is survived by her son Keith and his wife, Allison, of Anchorage; daughter Gini Thomas, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; five granddaughters, Cindy Kamp and her husband Bill of Mukilteo, Wash., their boys, Jay, Joey and Caden; Amy and the Rev. Jeffrey Spencer, their son Luke, now of Winlock, Wash.; Tanya Thomas of Juneau and her finance, Paul Burrill; Kristin Gulley and her husband Jeremy of Redmond, Wash. and their daughter Amy Katherine; and by Caroline Brown of Washington, D.C.

Memorials to the American Lung Association of Washington, 2625 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 or Whatcom Hospice Foundation; 800 East Chestnut, Suite C, Bellingham, WA 98225-5241.

A memorial service will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Bellingham, Wash., at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20. Reception to follow in the church hall.

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