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Local News

November 9, 2012

Friends cope with deaths of Franklin couple


The Browns, well-known among the 500 residents in the village of Franklin, touched the lives of many in neighboring communities, associates at SUNY Delhi and the Oneonta Rotary Club said Thursday. 

Wendy Brown was a quiet person who showed leadership behind the scenes in Rotary and community projects, associates said.

In Oneonta on Thursday, the Oneonta Rotary Club suspended business during its regular luncheon meeting Thursday in respect to Wendy Brown, who as vice president was in line to be president next year.

“She was just absolutely beloved,” Oneonta Rotary President Paul Patterson said.

Dr. Robert Davidson, a Rotarian, spoke of Brown’s winsome smile and pointed comments before offering a prayer and saying how much she will be missed.

The Rev. Judith Thistle, director of the chaplaincy program at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, was invited specifically to speak to members about coping with Wendy Brown’s death.

Thistle told Rotarians that in the grieving process they may experience denial, anger and depression before reaching acceptance. The “whys” about the deaths, she said, will arise during the next year’s club activities.

“We need answers to help us accept what has happened,” Thistle said. “In this circumstance, you will never get the answers you need. … A very hard thing is to live without the answers — the answers are known only to God.”

However, the gift of having known Wendy Brown will continue, Thistle said, and the reality of losing Wendy Brown must be woven into life.

“That’s a process, and it takes time,” she said. “Her life has touched yours and made it stronger.”

Two Rotary members spoke individually after the meeting.

Patterson said Wendy Brown was effective as an organizer and a fundraiser. She wasn’t a pushy or flashy person, he said, and she explained herself well and inspired confidence in listeners.

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