Former Columbia Association President Brown dies

January 28, 2010|By Larry Carson | Baltimore Sun reporter

Maggie J. Brown, the fiesty, outgoing president of the Columbia Association for eight years before her retirement May 1, died Thursday after battling a brain tumor for months. She was 70.

Brown, known for her cheery demeanor and positive attitude, had worked for the large homeowners association for more than two decades before taking over as president in 2001. She played the role of a peacemaker after a bruising fight ousted the previous president and association board members couldn't agree on a replacement.

"I will always think of her as the mayor of Columbia," said Pearl Atkinson Stewart, perhaps her biggest fan on the board. "She was fair, honest and unique," Atkinson Stewart said.

Tom O'Connor, the CA board president when Brown retired, worked with her for all eight years of her presidency.

"We have lost a strong person in this community who didn't get to do some further things after retirement.," he said. We will miss her."

Brown, known for her big hair and kitschy July 4th parade floats, said last spring that she and her husband, Nesbitt, planned to remain after her retirement in their home on Celestial Way in the Village of Harper's Choice.

"I'm going to be out in Columbia having a great time," she told The Baltimore Sun at the time. O'Connor said the first signs of an illness came just before she left the job, and she had been fighting it ever since.

Brown was an early resident, who became active after selling crafts in the community. She started with CA as a salesperson, and also worked for about five years for two county executives, Elizabeth Bobo and Charles I. Ecker, before returning to CA.

She said at retirement she most treasured meeting Columbia's founder James W. Rouse: "He taught me that it's not bricks and mortar, but that sense of sharing and caring about people that's most important."

Brown is survived by her husband and three grown children, two sons, Michael and Kevin, and a daughter, Dr. Angela Brown, who all live in Maryland.

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