Joan Stoddard Brown

Former Durango resident Joan Elizabeth Stoddard Brown died Saturday, July 28, 2012, in Denver. She was 85.

Mrs. Brown was born to Alfred E. and Helen A. Stoddard on March 25, 1927, in East Liverpool, Ohio, where she grew up and attended East Liverpool High School, graduating in 1944. She went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Thiel College in Greenville, Penn., in 1948.

One month after finishing her studies, Mrs. Brown began work as a flight attendant (then called a hostess) with Capital Airlines. During her 2˝ career, she was stationed in Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans. Her family described the job as the culmination of her lifelong dream to fly.

“She loved anything to do with flying,” her daughter Jan Brown Reed said. “The pilots would occasionally fly over her parents’ house (in Ohio) and dip the wings.”

Mrs. Brown met her future husband, Air Force Capt. George A. Brown, in August 1950, when he was a passenger on one of her flights. Mrs. Brown recognized the distinctive ring on his finger as that of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where her brother also was a graduate. The two struck up a conversation and left phone numbers with one another when the plane landed.

“Each knew they had found ‘the one,’” Brown Reed said.

The couple was engaged in October and married Jan. 6, 1951, in Mrs. Brown’s hometown of East Liverpool.

After Mr. Brown’s retirement from the military as a colonel, the couple and their four children moved to Durango in 1971.

Mrs. Brown kept herself busy as a full-time homemaker and mother, her family said.

She was an active member of Christ the King Lutheran Church, singing in the choir for 34 years. Relatives describe her as a lover of gardening and needlework, for which she received several accolades. In 1992 and 2011, Mrs. Brown was named Grand Champion of Show at the La Plata County Fair for her counted cross-stitch patterns.

After 40 years in Durango, Mrs. Brown moved to Denver in April 2011 to live near her daughter, Jan.

Mrs. Brown was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, George A. Brown, in 2006.

She is survived by her daughter Jan Brown Reed of Denver; sons David Brown of O’Fallon, Ill., Daniel Brown of Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., and Larry Brown of Sidney, Neb.; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Cremation has occurred. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 495 Florida Road in Durango. Her remains will be placed alongside her husband’s in the church’s Memorial Garden.

Condolences may be sent to janbrownreed@yahoo.com, or 7925 W. Layton Ave. #307, Denver, CO 80123.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Christ the King Lutheran Church, 495 Florida Road, Durango, CO 81301.