Gladys M. Brown, 91, nurse's aide, musician

July 02, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Gladys M. Brown, an artist, author and composer who wrote the official Calvert County song, died in her sleep Sunday at Calvert County Nursing Center in Prince Frederick, where she had lived since 2001. The former Huntingtown resident was 91.

Gladys Mogck was born and raised on 41st Street in Baltimore. She developed an interest in music early in her life and studied violin from 1922 to 1930 at Peabody Preparatory.

After graduating in 1932 from Eastern High School, she attended Strayer Business College and worked during the late 1930s as a nurse's aide at Kernan Hospital.

During World War II, she was a civilian employee of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in Washington, serving on the staff of its director, Oveta Culp Hobby.

"She was later sent to Panama and while there played first violin with the Panama Symphony Orchestra," said her sister, Eleanor James of Woodbine.

After the war, Mrs. Brown returned to Kernan Hospital and in the early 1950s took a position as a clerical worker at the Belvedere Hotel.

Mrs. Brown enjoyed composing songs and in 1954 wrote the music and lyrics to "Cavaliers of Calvert," a march, in honor of the 300th anniversary of the founding of county. It was later adopted as the county's official song - making it probably the only county in the state with an official song.

Because she had worked with young polio victims at Kernan Hospital, Mrs. Brown donated the royalties from the song to the March of Dimes to aid in the fight against polio.

"She took a liking to our son, Joe, whom she called Butch, when he was being treated for polio at Kernan's," said Joseph S. Reppert of Timonium yesterday. Mrs. Brown wrote a song for the boy.

"The song was called `Butch,' and she had it recorded on a 45. She was a wonderful lady," said Mr. Reppert.

After her 1957 marriage to Edward Hamme Brown, a certified public accountant and controller of the Sheraton Hotel chain, the couple moved to Larkspur, Calif. For a number of years she owned and operated a gift shop in San Francisco.

After her husband's death in 1972, Mrs. Brown moved to Huntingtown, where she became active in the cultural life of Calvert County. She served as president of the Calvert Artists' Guild and was a contributing writer to The Heritage of Calvert County, Maryland: For the Young Reader, published in 1995.

She was the author of two books about her dogs, Champion Gaylord, an Irish setter, and Sean, My Pal: A True Story, about an Afghan hound.

Mrs. Brown also was a prolific abstract painter who worked in watercolors, pastels and oils.

"She was a very kind and giving person and was always immaculately dressed in hats and gloves," said Charles L. Mister, vice president of The Calvert Independent, a weekly newspaper.

George W. Owings III, secretary of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, recalled that "when I came back from Vietnam, she and her husband met me at the airport in San Francisco. And when she moved back to Calvert County, we became very close."

Mrs. Brown was a member of the Daughters of the Nile, Beta Sigma Phi, Calvert County Centennial Committee and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Surviving, in addition to her sister, are a stepdaughter, Barbara Roth of Carmichael, Calif.; and many nieces and nephews.

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