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Patsy Ruth Dabbs Brown

November 20, 1932 February 9, 2022
Patsy Ruth Dabbs Brown
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Obituary for Patsy Ruth Dabbs Brown
Patsy Ruth (Dabbs) Brown joined her beloveds on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. She was 89 and died peacefully at her home. Her husband, Marion, preceded her in 1985.

She was born Nov. 20, 1932, to Houston and Maude Dabbs somewhere in Monroe County, she wrote later in an unpublished 26-page memoir that now serves as the basis for this epilogue. Her sister, Peggy, had been born the year before, and predeceased her in death, passing in 2018. She is survived by her sisters, Sue and Linda, and her brother, Wallace.

She was mother and friend to five children, who all survive her: Thomas (Donnes), Jane (Jim Hansen), Lois (Stephen Solecki), Jim (Marie) and Katie. She also was so proud of her grandchildren: Jesse Brown, Leslie Sylvis, Brian Hansen, Zachary Brown, Andrew Booth, Jacob Brown, Nicholas Brown and Joshua Brown; and eight great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.

In “An Improbable Tale,” her detailed recollections about her life, she mused about growing up during the Depression and expressed gratitude that they were never hungry because both sides of her parents’ families were farmers. When her grandfather, Thom Sanders, became warden of a prison facility around 1937, she reveled in visiting him to watch mule races and learned how to ride a bike.

Helping the family with the farm was part of everyday life, and when they moved to Columbus when she was in seventh grade, she and Peggy helped bring in their father’s truck farm crops of cotton and tomatoes.

There was also time for fun at high school (S.D. Lee, 1950), where she played on the basketball team and met lifelong friends, Oneita Fielder and Teen Franklin.

After graduation, she found work as a lingerie clerk at Egger’s Department Store, working six days a week making $75 a month. There was “an upside” she wrote: “The store sent me to Birmingham and Atlanta to attend seminars on how to fit corsets and bras! Can you imagine? Green country girl on her first airplane ride (DC-3) and picked up by company reps and taken to a hotel for a 3-night stay!”

Her life was soon to take off in unexpected ways. She and Oneita took over a beauty shop, but their lack of business experience doomed the shop, and they closed it. But it was the ‘50s, and when the Korean War started, she found work at the Air Force Base, keeping track of flying hours for pilots who were training at a flight school operated by California-Eastern Airways.

When the company moved to an air base in Texas and offered jobs to those who wanted to relocate, she didn’t hesitate. Oneita soon joined her and they moved into Apt. 16 at 1400 Pecan in McAllen, Texas. As fate would have it, a handsome young pilot, Capt. Marion Brown, moved in next door. “Already, scuttlebutt … around the base was that these 2 single guys were ‘taken’ by some of the headquarters females and keep hands off,” she wrote. “Well, we know what happened. I knocked on Capt. Brown’s door, welcomed him to Texas and invited him over for coffee. We dated for two years and wed on April 6, 1959.” (For those who knew her, you can probably hear her infectious laugh just now as she recalled this story.)

Capt. Brown’s military service soon set them on a journey that took them from Texas to Florida (where Tom and Jane were born) and then to England in 1962, where they coped that first year with crowded guesthouses, drafty cottages, frozen pipes and long periods of time apart as Marion fulfilled his military duties. Still, she loved her time there, remembering how the people in one of the villages where they lived had marveled at the size of her refrigerator and welcomed new baby Lois by placing shillings in her hand.

During their stay in England, a German shepherd named Duke seems to have captured a special place in her memories. She recalled how he easily cleared fences, and they had trouble keeping him confined. So “we made the decision to see if he could enlist in the Royal Air Force. He passed with flying colors …”

Their final home in England, at Shepherd’s Grove, “was like a house party. There was always something going on,” she wrote. “We were only (there) a year but met some of the nicest people of our Air Force career.” While there, they welcomed a second son, Jim, into the world.

When they returned stateside, they lived briefly in Maryland, but they were soon off to Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., where they welcomed youngest daughter Katie in 1966. It was an idyllic life, with tons of friends for the kids, swimming at the officers’ club pool and a rich social life. It wasn’t to last, though.

When Marion, now a major, was deployed to the Vietnam War in 1968, she moved back to Jackson to be close to family while he served his tour. “Saying goodbye (at the Jackson airport) was one of the hardest things I have ever done,” she wrote.

When his tour was over, the family once again answered the call of duty and shipped out, this time to Japan. “This was probably four of the best years of our lives,” she wrote. She led a busy life of raising her children, going to theme parks, taking them to Mt. Fuji, going on picnics and participating in Scouts, among a myriad of other things. She even received an award, the first of its kind given to a woman, for being an outstanding Scout leader.

Upon their return to the States, they briefly lived at Eglin again, but Marion was asked to retire, so they found themselves in 1973 at 3409 Lanell Lane in Pearl, once again near family. It was in this spacious home that she finished raising her children and later coped with the death of Marion, an immeasurable loss for all who knew him.

She had converted to Catholicism when she met Marion, and it was an enduring and sustaining constant and source of comfort in her life. She remembered every priest and every baptism in her autobiography. She was especially fond of Father Balant in Japan because he allowed girls as alter servers and women as lectors. (Those who knew Patsy knew how progressive she was on that front.)

In the ensuing years after Marion’s death, she traveled often with Katie, who is a pilot. Theirs was a special bond, because Katie had been very ill once as a baby, and as a young adult had almost died in a horrific car accident. They journeyed to England (where she was able to revisit the places she once had lived), as well as Canada, Ireland, Australia, most of Europe, and Russia, among many other destinations.

Later, she moved into her own apartment that Jim had built for her, where she delighted in being a grandmother; talked and laughed with her siblings often; and enjoyed a full life. She thought often about the many, many close friends she and Marion had met and loved as family, reaching out to as many as she could throughout the years.

Patsy Brown summed up her life best in her “improbable tale’s” closing:

“What I remember and how I remember it will not always agree with what you remember. Mostly, in my mind, I remember the good times. I made a lot of mistakes and wish I could go back and undo them. Unfortunately, we cannot, and I get sad thinking about that. I hope you all will remember that none of us are perfect and I did what I thought to be right and fair. I love you all very much and think how dull life would have been without you all!”

***

Visitation will be at St. Francis of Assisi, 4000 W. Tidewater Lane, Madison, MS, Monday Feb. 14, 2022, 5–7 p.m. Visitation and memorial service is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 15, 8-9 a.m. (visitation) and Mass at 9 a.m., followed by interment at Natchez National Cemetery, where Marion was laid to rest.
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Previous Events

Visitation

Monday

14

Feb

5:00 PM 2/14/2022 5:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 2/14/2022 7:00:00 PM
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

4000 W. Tidewater Lane
Madison, MS 39110

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
4000 W. Tidewater Lane Madison 39110 MS
United States

Visitation

Tuesday

15

Feb

8:00 AM 2/15/2022 8:00:00 AM
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

4000 W. Tidewater Lane
Madison, MS 39110

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
4000 W. Tidewater Lane Madison 39110 MS
United States

Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday

15

Feb

9:00 AM 2/15/2022 9:00:00 AM
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

4000 W. Tidewater Lane
Madison, MS 39110

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
4000 W. Tidewater Lane Madison 39110 MS
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Natchez National Cemetery Final Resting Place

41 Cemetery Rd,
Natchez, MS 39120

41 Cemetery Rd, Natchez 39120 MS
United States
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