Marian Brown

Obituary of Marian Morton Brown

Marian Ruth Morton Brown, known to family and friends as Maru, passed away peacefully at her home in New Canaan on Monday, April 29, 2024. She was ninety-seven years old and had lived in New Canaan for sixty-four years.

Born on March 23, 1927, in Greensboro, North Carolina, Maru was the daughter of the late Joseph Reece Morton, a chemical company owner and entrepreneur, and Ruth Balsam Morton, of New York City. An only child, she grew up in a wonderful country home surrounded by flower gardens and woods, which she explored with her dogs.

After attending the Warrington School in Virginia for junior high, she matriculated to Connecticut’s Ethel Walker School, Class of 1944. She entered Vassar College toward the end of World War II and graduated in three years in 1947. She studied at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) during her last academic year. A Vassar friend suggested she look up a tall, handsome young man from Boston with wispy blonde hair. George Edwin “Ted” Brown Jr. was enrolled in the School of Advanced International Studies after graduating from Harvard College, Class of 1945. They were married on January 6, 1949, in Greensboro, whereupon they returned to Geneva for another year. 

After arriving back in the United States, they settled in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where they lived for a decade before moving to New Canaan in 1960 with three young girls in tow (and a poodle). Their fourth child, a son, was born at the Norwalk Hospital. They settled on four acres of land on Country Club Road for the next forty-five years. 

Maru sought to balance her children’s lives between sports, the arts, education, and travel. She often referred to herself as a chauffeur! She was also a consummate volunteer and assisted with or was on the boards or committees of numerous local organizations, including the New Canaan Garden Club, the New Canaan Country School, the New Canaan Nature Center, the Junior League of Fairfield County, the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, the Country Club of New Canaan, Waveny Care Center, Staying Put and more. Summers were spent on Chappaquiddick Island off Martha’s Vineyard and, in later years, after the kids were grown, in Dorset, Vermont.

Maru was energetic, smart, social, and a gifted organizer. She was a multi-tasker before there ever was such a term! She excelled at tennis and golf, but was not as thrilled about riding or skiing; however, she didn’t shy away from planning family vacations to dude ranches in the west or the ski slopes of Vermont and Colorado. She loved to entertain. Friends remembered her epically fun and festive Christmas parties. 

Later in life, Maru and Ted traveled abroad extensively with friends, including to Europe, Africa, China, South America, and beyond, always returning with rolls of photos to remember their adventures. Still, Maru’s competitive spirit came out in her love for bridge, which she played weekly with friends in their bridge club into her 80s. Within the family, the challenge was always to see if any of us could beat her at backgammon … an extremely rare occurrence.

She left us slowly over the last few years as dementia stole her mind. Her wish was to stay in her home, and we honored that request. She is now at peace. Maru leaves behind her children and their partners: Scottie (Greg Jones), Hunter (Tom Bailey), Loocie (Beth Sommers), George (Laura Korbin); grandchildren: Caitlin (Curtis Koenig) and Emery Jones, Chris and Woody (Sarah) Bailey, Hopie Brown, and great-grandchildren: Henry Jones and Benjamin Bailey. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ted.

We, her children, would be remiss if we didn’t honor the love, support, and guidance we all received from Helen (Taylor) Darrell, who helped raise us for almost twenty years. Along with her husband, Ellsworth, they were family. We would also like to express our extreme gratitude to Yaa Awansi (affectionately known as Regina) for the loving care she provided for our mother these past five and a half years. 

A private memorial service will be held at the Columbarium at the Presbyterian Church of New Canaan at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Maru’s memory be made to the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, the New Canaan Nature Center, or a charitable organization of one’s choice.

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