Dorothy Brown

Jan 14, 2019
Dorothy Brown

North Havsen — It is with great sadness we announce the peaceful passing of Dorothy Grant Brown, 96. Born Aug. 8, 1922, in Rockland to parents Hubert and Gertrude Thornton Grant, Dorothy was the third of six children; Shirley Calderwood, Erma Waterman, Jane Metzger, Ann Waterman-Brown and Hubert (Sonny) Grant. She was predeceased by her parents, husband and siblings Shirley, Erma and Sonny.

Dorothy’s parents were the caretakers of the Morrow and Lindbergh estate on North Haven. She grew up on the seaside farm next door and remembered her mother being taken up by Charles Lindbergh in his plane for a ride. Her family worked for and became friends with the Lindberghs, and kept extensive scrapbooks of news clippings of the exciting lives of the famous family.

She attended North Haven schools and during her graduation dance all the boys lined up to dance with the tall, glamorous blonde, but she would only dance with James E. Brown. They were married three years later in Rockland on July 17, 1943, during Jim’s brief weekend pass between boot camp and his first stationing in the Navy. They lived briefly in Maryland during Jim’s military service, but moved back to the island and bought Jim’s grandfather’s home, where they lived for the rest of their lives. They raised three children, James O. Brown, Foy W. Brown and Kim Alexander, all of North Haven. Although technically she only had three of her own, she often counted longtime family friend Jon Emerson among her children.

She was an excellent homemaker and cook, known for her signature chocolate chip “Mam” cookies — Mam being the nickname given to her by her first grandchild. She took pleasure in Sunday family picnics, weekly car rides around the island with Jim, and daily visits from grandchildren and great-grandchildren, filling her home and life with love and laughter.

Shy and retiring, she spent most of her quiet days with crosswords and always a cat in residence on her lap. Despite her shyness, however, she was fond of dancing and she and Jim attended all the island dances over the years. They also spent most summer Saturday nights traveling in their lobster boat to the mainland to attend the Blue Goose Dance Hall in Northport.

Dorothy is probably best known for her hand-carved birds. She was a talented artist who from an early age painted landscapes, made jewelry, hooked rugs and eventually began hand-carving and painting wooden birds. In a career spanning more than 60 years, Dorothy produced many hundreds of individual birds and intricately staged scenes, painstakingly mounted on delicate driftwood. Her elegantly designed and accurately depicted birds and marine animals were sold at the family business, J.O. Brown & Son’s Boatyard, mostly by her niece Linda Crockett, where they were highly sought-after every summer.

Dorothy was thrilled one summer near the end of her carving career to be asked by Jamie Wyeth to create a series of hand-carved birds to go along with his series of paintings called "Gulls, Ravens, and a Vulture." It was a unique challenge for her to translate the details of Jamie’s painted work into sculpture. She also had to make many new tiny figures that she had never attempted before, such as a blueberry pie, a strawberry sundae, a lobster and a pile of dead fish. The first series was so well received by Mr. Wyeth, he later commissioned a second and then a third series.

Though Dorothy was quiet and reserved in daily life and mostly stayed close to home, her prolific creativity has spread far and wide. Today, her birds and other creatures populate countless shelves, mantelpieces, windowsills and tables all over the island, across Maine and the world beyond, quietly reminding us of the artist and her artistry.

She is survived by her children, James O. and Candace Brown, Foy W. and Louisa Brown and Kim Alexander; her seven grandchildren, Foy E. and Lydia Brown, Karen and Shawn Cooper, Rachael Brown and Jerry White, Elisha and Jennifer Brown, Jacob Brown, Olivia Brown, and Adam and Katherine Alexander, all of North Haven. Dorothy was blessed with 11 great-grandchildren and five step-great-grandchildren, Kennedy and Peyton Cooper, Eliza, Cyrus and Rita Brown, Jack Brown and Quentin Spence, Katherine and Hannah White, Sigmund, Gilda and Ines Alexander, Yves, Elizabeth, Hillary and Scot Baribeau.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the North Haven Baptist Church. Arrangements are with Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland. To share a memory or story with Dorothy’s family,  visit their online Book of Memories at bchfh.com.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests donations in her memory be given to Waterman’s Community Center, PO Box 526, North Haven, ME 04853 or Southern Harbor House, 12 Pulpit Harbor Road, North Haven, ME 04853.

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