Patricia Ann Brown died unexpectedly on March 11, at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She had sustained serious injuries in a fall in her home and was airlifted from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She was 86.
Ms. Brown was the daughter of the late Maurice and Teresa Brown. She lived all of her life in the same house on South Summer street in Edgartown, having been born at home on June 27, 1927.
Ms. Brown graduated from the Edgartown School and went to the School of Nursing at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, following in her sister’s footsteps. Upon graduation, she returned to the Vineyard and worked at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for a decade, primarily in the operating room. It was in this position that she made many friends: doctors, nurses, co-workers, and patients from newborn to the elderly. She made many trips to Boston hospitals with critically ill patients in a police cruiser, which became an ambulance for emergencies in those days, and on occasion by private plane.
When Irene Landers, the legendary first school nurse, was about to retire, she selected and trained Pat with the approval of the school boards, to take over the duties of being the school nurse for all of the Vineyard schools. Pat had many responsibilities including every aspect of the physical, mental and dental health of all of her students. Pat was instrumental in identifying needy families and in the delivery of Red Stockings from Gay Head (Aquinnah) to Edgartown in all sorts of weather. She loved the little Gay Head schoolhouse.
As the years passed, more comprehensive duties with new state regulations, plus increased enrollment in the schools, made it impossible for just one nurse to manage. With the hiring of more nurses, the many school nursing responsibilities were divided. At that time Pat became the school nurse for the high school. Her immense responsibilities were always completed with the highest level of medical professionalism. Pat possessed a fine wit and marvelous sense of humor, which helped people survive many serious situations with less stress, leaving everyone most grateful.
When asked if she had any children, Pat loved to reply, “Oh, yes! I have 1,200 kids!” She thoroughly enjoyed working with all of her kids, as well as all of her co-workers. During the summers, she enjoyed working in retail at Robin Hood’s Barn, as well as with the visiting nurses. In her retirement, Pat continued giving of herself with dedication, energy and compassion to her family, friends, former students and neighbors.
She was a lifelong communicant of St. Elizabeth’s Church and served on the Salvation Army Board. Pat participated in the Edgartown 4th of July parade as the parade nurse, with Robert W. Nevin, MD, the parade doctor, for many years. She enjoyed traveling, visiting family in the states as well as abroad, especially Ireland.
Patricia was predeceased by her parents and two siblings, Joan Brown Doucette and David Elliot Brown, as well as a nephew, David Brown. She is survived by a multitude of good friends of all ages, as well as the children of her late sister and brother: Kathleen, Kevin and Keith Doucette of Connecticut, and Teresa Brown O’Dell, Catherine Brown Draling and Robert Brown of Nevada, and relatives in Ireland.
A celebration of her life is planned for Friday, June 27, with an 11 a.m. service at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Edgartown with Father Michael Nagle presiding.
A reception to follow will be held in the Baylies Room of the Old Whaling Church. Memories, preferably in writing, and photos (all dated if possible), are requested to be shared at Pat’s celebration of life as there are so many untold stories that need to live on. It is the hope these will be compiled into a booklet in her memory. The graveside service will be private.