Wendy and Willis Brown
FRANKLIN — Wendy and Willis Brown died unexpectedly Nov. 7, at their home in Franklin. They were both 58 years old. They discovered when they met at college that their mothers happened to have shared a room at Sidney Hospital when they were born. Willis was the third son of Laverne and Ruth Brown and Wendy was third daughter of William and Caroline McReynolds, and the mothers joked about trading a boy for a girl.
Wendy and Willis did not meet again until they were 26 years old and students at SUCO. They married June 20, 1981. They had three sons, one of whom, William, died in infancy. Their lives centered on their sons, Garrett and Daniel, They were immensely proud of both, Garrett as IT director at Rising Tide Charter school in Plymouth, Mass., and Daniel in his freshman year at RPI.
They were also devoted to their extended family. Willis visited his mom weekly at Otsego Manor. Wendy worked closely with her sister Erna at The Morgan McReynolds Group at Morgan Stanley in Oneonta. Erna has said Wendy was her “second skin.”
Wendy was known as the family angel — she looked after and cared for everyone who came near. She was a passionate perennial gardener and spent happy hours improving her flower beds. Everything she tackled she did with passion and precision.
Willis loved the outdoors, especially canoeing and solo camping. He helped set up a blog on camping and canoeing. He was overjoyed to buy a camper so that he didn’t have to lie on ground on his camping trips.
Willis was a professor of applied sciences and building technologies at SUNY Delhi where he was recently named 2012 Faculty Tutor of The Year.
Wendy was the president-elect of the Oneonta Rotary club. She organized the group study exchange for the club and her family hosted two youth exchange students. Wendy also served on the board of the Catskill Symphony. She served on the board of the Franklin Stage Company. She rarely said no to any volunteer activity. Wendy challenged the Franklin community to back the Save our School campaign. She worked passionately with her sister Erna and her brother-in-law Tom on a variety of events for many organizations including Catskill Area Hospice and Bassett Healthcare.
Wendy was the valedictorian of her high school class in Gilbertsville. She went on to Upstate Medical to become an RN. Later she received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from SUNY Oneonta. All of our circle of family and friends relied on her to help with medical issues. People will remember Wendy as beautiful and gentle but she was fierce in helping her sons overcome difficulties when they were boys. She was fierce as a high school senior in Gilbertsville, organizing the school to change its hiring policies. She knew when she was right.
As a financial adviser Wendy was passionate about her clients. She often would visit clients on the weekend, especially if someone was ill. She was really everyone’s angel.
After Willis met Wendy at SUCO they became inseparable. Willis completed his bachelor’s degree in physics at SUCO. He then went to Syracuse University where he completed a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. He had several high-profile jobs in engineering in Wisconsin, California and Texas. Wherever Willis work he worked harder and better than anyone in the job. Willis also served in the nuclear Navy for six years.
In 2001 Wendy and Willis moved back to New York state, to Franklin, to be closer to family, especially Wendy’s beloved sister Erna. The move brought Wendy and Willis closer to both sets of parents. There were no more conscientious sons or daughters than Wendy and Willis. There were no better parents. There were no better community members than Wendy and Willis Brown.
They had a wonderful shared family and the list of survivors is too long to include here.
They are survived immediately by their beloved sons Garrett and Daniel Brown and their partners, Holly Stanford and Angie Willert. Willis is survived by his mother, Ruth Brown, brothers David and Marty and spouses Mary and Betty. Wendy is survived by her sisters, Erna, Maxine and Betty and their husbands Tom Morgan, Keith Allen and Jerry Robinson. There are so many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews that we cannot list them here. Please be certain the whole family will always love you as much as Wendy and Willis did. And we are already planning the Fourth of July extravaganza in their memory. On the evening of Dec. 21 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, there will be a special version of a Hometown Christmas in honor of Wendy and Willis.
The family requests contributions in their honor be made to the Oneonta Rotary Club. We look forward to seeing friends and relatives pay their respects at calling hours between 3 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Grummons Funeral Home in Oneonta. Services are on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m. in the Atrium at Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta.
A reception will follow. Some people have wanted to contribute to the reception. There will be a special table if you wish to bring a dessert or hors d’oeuvres.
Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting our website at www.grummonsfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.