Rena's Story

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OTEGO - Rena Arlene Brown, 94, died peacefully at home on Feb. 5, 2018, surrounded by many of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Arlene was born Nov. 3, 1923, in Franklin, North Carolina, one of nine children of the Reverends Reuben Ayers Truitt and Cora Annie (Sharpe) Truitt.
Arlene was predeceased by her husband, Ralph William Brown, who she met at the Pillar-of-Fire Community in Zarepath, New Jersey, where her parents were both ministers.
Ralph and Arlene were married June 10, 1944, in Jacksonville, Florida.
Arlene worked as a draftsperson at the U.S. Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut, while her husband was at sea as a Merchant Seaman during World War II. After the war, Arlene was, for a while, the only female draftsperson employed by the Thomas Edison Company in Newark, New Jersey.
Ralph and Arlene raised their five children in Westfield, New Jersey, before moving to their retirement farm in Butternuts, in 1983.
Arlene was also predeceased by her oldest son, Jerry Lee Brown, in 2016; her sister-in-law, Ruth E. Brown; and all but one of her siblings.
She is survived by her sister, Louise Ramsey of Hernando Beach, Florida; sister-in-law, Freda Brown of Scotch Plains, New Jersey; daughter-in-law Dottie (Jerry) Brown of Summerville, Georgia; son, Glen Ralph (Marylou) Brown of Butternuts, daughters, Jane Truitt (Stephen) Seitz of Butternuts and Faye Ann (Steven) Hake of Charles Town, West Virginia, son, James Reuben (Patrice) Brown of Scotch Plains, New Jersey; 24 grandchildren; and 41 great-grandchildren.
Arlene was a voracious reader. She created complex cross stitch pictures for each of her 65 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, for whom she ardently prayed, and with many of whom she communicated on Facebook up until a week before her passing.
What is left behind and available to all who met and spent time with Arlene, is the afterimage of a woman of faithful integrity, who knew joy in the sacrifice of self-giving in daily reality. Arlene knew how to do little and big things with great love, and she did them for strangers, acquaintances, family and friends. Her energy to love, she would gladly tell you, was drawn from her hope in the eternal, unconditional, self-emptying love of God, manifested to the world through Christ Jesus.
The family will be in attendance to receive friends from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Bookhout Funeral Home, Oneonta. A memorial service will follow the visitation at 2:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests, for those who so desire, that contributions be made in Arlene's memory to Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 297 River Street Service Road, Oneonta, NY, 13820, or online at cahpc.org.
Arrangements are under the care of Bookhout Funeral Home, Oneonta.
Published on February 8, 2018
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