Jeanne Brown, 91, entered the church triumphant on August 23, 2023. For her, one journey ended; a new journey began. Born July 5, 1932, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., this only child of Bruce and Mildred Goodwin was immersed in music from birth, her father a jazz pianist, playing on riverboats traveling the Mississippi during the Roaring Twenties, and later, in dance bands at The Purple Crackle. Thus, Jeanne’s gift for music seemed a birthright, and she, too, became a consummate pianist with incredible range, her repertoire stretching from Beethoven sonatas to Gershwin preludes to Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner, and Marian McPartland. Magnificently, Jeanne could hear a tune once and immediately render a spontaneous arrangement of it, complete with lush chord transitions and a mood fitting for the piece. A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Jeanne pursued her vocation in music, serving as a public school music teacher in Louisiana, and Centralia. She was producing high school musicals, such as Oklahoma and South Pacific, long before the genre became a television and Broadway sensation. Her productions and choirs charmed these small communities while also providing rich and formative experiences for her students. Upon her retirement, she continued to offer a ministry through her music, teaching privately and serving as choir director and elder at First Presbyterian Church of Mexico. Well into her eighties, Jeanne enjoyed playing jazz standards for the shoppers at Von Maur Department Store in Lake Saint Louis, while also performing with a dance troupe and leading a men’s chorus at Heritage of Hawk Ridge. Shakespeare wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on,” and so she shall with heaven’s chorus.
Jeanne was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Jerry C. Brown. She is survived by her daughter, Lisa Marsh (Dick); her son, Matt Brown (Donna); four grandchildren, Tim Marsh (Amy), Laura Marsh, Noah Brown (Emily), Seth Brown (Liza); and one great-granddaughter, Phoebe.
On Saturday, September 30, a brief inurnment service will be held at the Columbarium of First Presbyterian Church, Mexico, at 10:00am. A memorial service will be held that afternoon at 2:00pm at New Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Charles. The family will receive guests following the memorial service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to First Presbyterian Church of Mexico, or New Hope Presbyterian Church of St. Charles, Mo.