Carolyn Jean Brown, loving and caring mother, passes away at 76

Carolyn Brown
Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Jean Brown was the most loving and caring mother, grandmother, and friend. She left this world on August 5th, 2023, at age 76. She was born and raised in Grangeville, CA, and attended grammar and high school in Hanford, CA.

Carolyn passed away peacefully in her home, surrounded by family and friends after a long battle with Parkinson’s.  No matter how ill she was, she was always determined to put her best foot forward and greet everyone with a smile. She stayed strong from the beginning of her battle till the end.  Through her, we know what resilience and perseverance truly are.  There was no quit in Carolyn.  There was also not an option of telling Carolyn “No,” those who knew her well understood that was a sure way to get her to do the exact opposite!  There are stories upon stories her beloved family, friends, and community have where Carolyn was in charge - all stories like that bring us to tears in extreme laughter.  In Carolyn’s beautiful soft-spoken voice, her always put-together look, and ultra-calm demeanor, we all have a story where we were told what to do and how to do it - and trust me we all did it! 

A lifelong Kings County native, Carolyn was well-loved in her community. She began her banking career in the 1970s at Cal Fed in Lemoore, moving with it as it changed to Glendale Federal and finally Citibank, both in Hanford, serving as Branch Manager and Vice President in all of them, long before it was common for women to serve in those positions.  She retired after nearly 50 years later in banking.  Carolyn was a go-getter and workhorse like no other, which is why she also took on an additional role after being asked to be the owner’s personal assistant and bookkeeper of Island District Honey Company in Lemoore CA.  

Carolyn Started part-time for them in 2006 (but no one was supposed to know that - she was still at the bank).  She would go out in the early morning hours, do the books, and then race to the bank to start her “day job.”  Carolyn then became full-time with the Island District Honey Company in October 2012 after she had retired from the bank.  The owners of Island District Honey Company were dear friends of Carolyn who quickly and often found themselves in the same position we all were very familiar with, which was “oh, Carolyn is in charge.”  The owner and Carolyn would have friendly debates/arguments over who was in charge, but Carolyn always won and finished it off with “I told you so.” Carolyn drove herself daily from her home in Hanford, CA, out to the Island District office in Lemoore.  She had her “route" to get there and drove herself even when she shouldn’t have been driving - but as we know, Carolyn was in charge and determined!     

As a tireless worker, she was always among the first to volunteer for any work to be done that would benefit the community and help those in need. As a member of several service organizations, including Soroptimist, Kings Art Center, Rotary, the Hanford Community Hospital Board, and the Lemoore Junior Women’s Club she was always willing to do whatever was needed. Her ideas and opinions were valued and often sought.  As a child of Carolyn’s, we could all guarantee we would be going with her to either set up, attend or clean up an event - with that came adventures always!  Like the time she decided she was more than able to drive a “Frito Lay” style truck down Hwy 99 with Jennifer as a young child, with the door open to transport event items - Jennifer had nothing less than a huge smile and giggled the entire way with the wind blowing in their hair!

Carolyn always enjoyed a round of golf or a hand of bridge with great friends in her free time. She had a love for her family and friends like no other.  Carolyn could not go anywhere without shopping and had to do so on a regular basis.  Diet Pepsi, Sweets, Adventures, and Gift Giving - you could never get her to say no to any of those things!  She was known for always running late, and her famous last words that everyone would accept were “I’m on my way” and “Just one more store.”  Carolyn was on time if it was 2 hours past event time.  All of her dear family and friends again have stories upon stories of somehow Carolyn roping them into “let’s go look at this” or “you need that,” which ultimately led to hours of shopping you did not know you were in for.  Like the time she and her dear friend Kelly Gilfry were out “shopping,” Carolyn set her eyes on an aluminum powerboat at a garage sale.  Carolyn told and convinced Kelly they “needed” that boat.  When asked why, Carolyn quickly explained: 'well, because it would be fun!"  Kelly was immediately sold on the idea, and that is where they decided they would buy the boat to take out for rides in the canal just off of Iona and 18th Ave in Kelly’s backyard.  On the way to get the money to pay for the boat, the good Lord must have looked out for them and talked some sense into their heads.  Kelly and Carolyn decided on a blow-up boat instead and were in the canal in luxury by that afternoon with their oars.  

Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents, Thelma and J.B. Williams of Hanford, CA. She is survived by her daughter Jennifer Brown; her two beloved grandchildren, Ella and June, her son Jeffrey Brown, and her five stepchildren: Diane Brown Loustale (Gary), Susan Brown, Neil Brown, Steve Brown (Linda), and Chris Brown (Janet).  Carolyn was quickly introduced to being around teenage boys with her stepchildren.  She was shocked and said, “I am surprised just how bad boys can smell after football practice and how often they can loudly pass gas.”  From there on out Carolyn would make wonderful memories with her entire family and create many more laughs.

We all laugh and have great memories and stories of how elegantly Carolyn would have it "her way or the highway" by saying in the calmest, soft-spoken tone, the prim and proper way, “I welcome you to go elsewhere if you see it differently.”  Carolyn will be deeply missed by all.

A funeral service is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug 23, 2023, at the Presbyterian church on the corner of B and Heinlen streets in Lemoore, followed by an Interment at the Lemoore Cemetery and a Celebration of Life at the Kings Country Club.  In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Parkinson’s Foundation on her behalf. 

Parkinson’s Foundation P.O. Box 6003 Albert Lea, MN 56007

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