Mildred Alyne Brown, born on St. Patricks Day in 1920, died on August 15 at her home in Edgartown.

Her parents, Albert Ausmus and Emma Waters Ausmus, lived in Brown County, Ill. when Mildred was born. Like her mother, Mildred lived a long life. Her mother, Emma, was able to celebrate her 95th birthday. Mildred celebrated her 96th birthday earlier this year. She and her late sister, Verna, and a brother, Homer, were the only three of eight children to survive. Homer died at the age of two.

Mildred attended Western Illinois University. Upon graduating from a two-year program with a teacher’s certificate, she taught in a one room schoolhouse near her parents’ home for a year before accepting a teaching position in Dixon, Ill., which seemed a million miles from Brown County. While volunteering to serve at a dinner at the Methodist church in Dixon, she met a local young man, Russell Brown, who was also serving that evening. Mildred and Russell married on June 8, 1947. They moved to Polo, Ill., in 1948, where they owned and operated the Polo Furniture Store and Brown-Seidel Funeral Home with partners Don and Irma Seidel.

In the 1970s Mildred rode a bus to Chicago on Saturdays to attend Pestalozzi-Froebel Teachers College, where she earned her four-year bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Mildred taught fourth grade in Polo for 18 years until her retirement in 1977. She taught for a total of 24 years.

Mildred and Russell were long-time active members in the Polo United Methodist Church. After Russell died on Nov. 3, 1993, Mildred remained in Polo until 2009, when she moved to Martha’s Vineyard to live near her daughter Rita and Rita’s partner, Jan Casey.

Mildred attended the Unitarian Universalist Society of Vineyard Haven, and she went faithfully to Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living four days a week for the last six and a half years. Her family thanks Center for Living executive director Leslie Clapp, program supervisor Eileen Murphy, and program activities coordinator Susan Habekost, and all of the staff, for making Mildred part of their family. “Age is a reality but old is a state of mind.” (C.S. Lewis)

Thanks and blessings also go to extended family members: Donna McElroy, who lived with Mildred for the last year and a half and became a great friend and caregiver; the late Bev Shuman, Ron Shuman and family, who did so much with and for Mildred, particularly during her years living alone in Polo after Russell died; Nancy Barlosky, a devoted friend and caregiver during her years on Martha’s Vineyard; and Alex and John Habekost, Mildred’s honorary grandchildren on Martha’s Vineyard. Her family also thanks The Lift drivers who drove Mildred to the Center for Living each day and the staff at the Plane View at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, a favorite lunch spot.

Mildred is survived by her family: daughter Rita Brown and her partner Jan Casey of Martha’s Vineyard and son Bob Brown and his wife Linda of Macon, Ga.; her grandchildren Ryan & Cortney Eiland of Destin, Fla., and Russ and Katherine Eiland of Huntsville, Ala.; great-grandchildren Connor, Emma, John, and Max, and a host of grand-dogs and cats.

Mildred will be interred next to Russell at Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon, Ill.

If you wish to make a donation in her memory, Mildred would be most honored with a gift to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard, PO Box 1236, Vineyard Haven, MA 02539 or to the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living,

There will be memorial celebration at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard this fall. Rev. Fernando Siaba, former pastor at Polo UMC, will lead a memorial graveside service at Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon, Ill. Polo Family Funeral Home (formerly Brown-Seidel Funeral Home) is in charge of the arrangements in Illinois.

“Never regret growing old, many are denied the privilege.”