Cover photo for Mary Ann Brown's Obituary
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1928 Mary 2020

Mary Ann Brown

February 29, 1928 — July 31, 2020

Lima, OH

MARY ANN BROWN, age 92, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 31, 2020.  She is survived by sons Paul (Terry) Brown of Atlanta, GA, John (Bonnie) Brown of Sebring, FL, William (Wista) Brown of Apokoa, FL, Arkley Brown of Sharonville, OH; daughters Frances (Lonzo) Coleman of Solon, OH, Brenda Brown of Sebring, FL, Teresa Adams of Atlanta, GA; sisters Barbara Bates of Bloomington, IL, Brenda Brown of Columbus, OH and Sevella Lewis of Columbus, OH; and sister-in-law Ann Elam of Eastlake, OH.  She's also survived by 16 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren; as well as host of nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by husband Paul Lawrence Brown; children Philip Douglas Brown and Shelby Eugene Brown; parents Frederick and Lillian (Banks) Owens; brothers Donald Owens, Frederick Owens; William Owens and sister Helen Owens.

Born February 29, 1928 in Lima, Ohio, Mary Ann was a graduate of Lima Central High School. She married Paul Brown on December 24,1946 with whom she shared 69 years of wedded bliss.  Mary Ann accepted Christ and joined St. Paul AME church as a young girl. She later became an active member of Second Baptist Church in Lima, Ohio.

Inspired by her son Shelby, Mary Ann became a life-long crusader for the developmentally disabled. She began her crusade in 1953 as a community organizer for the Council for Retarded Citizens (CRC). As a founding member of the CRC, she took on numerous responsibilities including President, Vice President, Treasurer, Trustee, Teacher, Chairperson and even Bus Driver. She was instrumental in opening “Robin Rodgers”, the first school in Ohio for the mentally retarded known now as Marimor School. Her efforts with the CRC culminated in a day care for the developmentally disabled (Robin Rogers Day Care) and a workshop where disabled adults could find employment (Marimor Industries). She also served the community as a Girl Scout Troop Leader, Allen County Foster Parent, Memorial Hospital Auxiliary associate, Spring View Manor volunteer and United Way volunteer.

In 1974, Mary Ann was selected as the first executive director of The ARC of Allen County. Under her supervision, The ARC developed a 38-acre recreational area for the disabled and several residential homes for disabled individuals in need of housing. She subsequently spearheaded efforts to establish a long-term care facility for the more severely disabled. In 1984, a 32-unit facility was built for this purpose and named “The Mary Ann Brown Residential Facility” honoring her 30 years of service to the developmentally disabled. Her commitment to the disabled was recognized by former Governor James Rhodes with an appointment to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council upon which she served for many years. Mary Ann retired from the ARC in 1995 but continued to work as a volunteer and advocate for many years thereafter.

She was bestowed many honors for her tireless dedication to the disabled including: Senior Citizen Hall of Fame (State of Ohio), Jefferson Award (Lima News/WLIO-TV), President’s Award (Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities), Woman of Achievement Award (Girl Scout Council), Golden Rule Award (J.C. Penney), Service to Mankind Award (Sertoma Club), Book of Golden Deeds Award (Lima Exchange Club), Outstanding Community Service Award (Southside Community Center), Volunteer of the Year Award (United Way), Woman of the Year (Delphos Herald) and Human Relations Award (Frontier Intl Club).

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, no public memorial or service is planned at this time.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to: The ARC of Allen County ( 546 S Collett St, Lima, OH 45805 in Mary Ann’s honor. Condolences may be expressed at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Ann Brown, please visit our flower store.


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