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November 8, 2012

Local couple dead in apparent murder-suicide

A Franklin couple died in an apparent murder-suicide, Delaware County deputies said Wednesday.

The bodies of Willis and Wendy Brown were found at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday in their home in the village of Franklin, Delaware County Sheriff Thomas Mills said Wednesday. Both had been shot, and it appears that the husband shot the wife, Mills said, but further details won’t be available until autopsies are complete.

Willis Brown was a professor of applied sciences and building technologies at the State University College of Technology at Delhi, and Wendy Brown was a financial adviser with the Morgan McReynolds Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Oneonta.

John Campbell, Franklin mayor, said the Browns were well-known in the village, which has a population of about 500 residents, and the reaction by the community to the deaths was “tremendous shock.’’

“It’s a terrible tragedy — a terrible loss — the community’s sympathies go out to the family,’’ Campbell said. “It’s a very tough thing to deal with. You ask yourself why and how. It’s just very tragic.’’

Wendy Brown was active in the community and known to be a willing helper, Campbell said.

“She loved Franklin,’’ Campbell said. “She was an outstanding person, a very nice person. She just was a very good citizen. … She’s going to be tremendously missed.’’

Christine Jockle, a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley in the New York City area, said she had no information about Brown to share other than “our hearts go out to the family.’’

A biography on the Morgan Stanley website said Wendy Brown specialized in retirement and investment planning. Her background included nursing, and she had a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She listed community activities as the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, Rotary and Franklin Stage Company.

“I think everyone is just in shock, and it’s impossible to find the words to express our sorrow at this tragedy,’’ Carmela Marner, executive/artistic director of the Franklin Stage Company.

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