by the Rev. Dr. Roger Sturrock
It is a privilege to be able to pay tribute to Dr. Elizabeth (Jean) Brown who brought goodness to so many lives. She was an only child born into a medical family. As a child, she loved going to Balbeggie in Perthshire to see her mother’s family and the time she spent there made a great impression on her. There was the opportunity to go berry picking, to help deliver lambs – a useful preparation for her future medical career! Her son, Jim, recalls a photo of Jean with her father at the seaside demonstrating her characteristic smile a feature recognized by her friends in later life.
She trained in medicine at Glasgow University and faced tragedy as a medical student at the age of 21 when her much loved father died. Jean first came to Wellington church in 1949 and remained a member there for the rest of her life. It was at Wellington that she met her husband Willie Brown an ENT surgeon and they married in 1961 and had a long and happy marriage. Jean and her husband were deeply involved in church life organising student lunches and Jean founded the crypt café with Jean Pearson and Ann Wilson. She was a member of the craft circle to which she contributed beautiful embroidery. All this was in the context of working as a very busy GP in Maryhill where she often took her much beloved dog on home visits at night!
Holidays with her children, Jim and Elizabeth, in the west coast especially Iona, were a highlight. Elizabeth recalls that her mum looked after her dog Jasper who was categorised by her as a very intelligent beast! Jean was a stickler for time keeping and meals had to be at the appropriate time. Cups of tea too close to dinner – time would spoil dinner!
I first got to know Jean when, because of increasing frailty, she became a resident in Clarence court in Broomhill. She was always neatly dressed and in conversation would recall the family and her grandchildren Emily, Amy, Eilish and Harry. She was always thankful for all the care and attention she received.
Earlier this year, the Radio Scotland Johnny Beattie show came to Clarence Court and interviewed 4 residents regarding why they thought they had lived long lives. Jean was one of them and when I later listened to the broadcast I was amazed how professional Jean sounded as if she was a practised radio broadcaster! Sadly, latterly, she had a bad fall and was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University hospital. When I visited her there she was, as usual, grateful for all the care and attention she received. However her health rapidly deteriorated and she passed away peacefully.
One of our church Elders, Priscilla Laurie, is a close family friend and she summed up Jean as petite, energetic, precise, caring and with a good sense of humour – she was herself to the end.
That was Jean Brown and we are grateful to God for her life.