Services for Maggie J. Brown, the former Columbia Association president, will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at St. John Baptist Church, 9055 Tamar Drive in Columbia.
Mrs. Brown died of a brain tumor Thursday at her Longfellow neighborhood home. She was 70.
Recalled for her cheerful demeanor and upbeat personality, she had worked for the homeowners association for more than two decades before taking over as president in 2001.
She ran a $60 million-a-year operation serving about 100,000 people and oversaw an agency that provided recreation services and managed parks and open spaces.
Born Maggie Janine Earle in Sun, a West Virginia coal-mining town, she was educated through the sixth grade in a one-room schoolhouse. She went on to be valedictorian of her high school class and earned a chemistry degree from Bluefield State College. She was later awarded an honorary doctorate from Hood College.
She became a National Institutes of Health chemist and met her future husband, Nesbitt Brown, who worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
"The right chemistry brought us together," he said. "She was so loving and giving."
The couple married in 1962 and moved to Columbia in 1970, when the town had a population of 8,500. She raised her family and became active as a volunteer by running the annual Columbia Birthday Fair. She supervised more than 100 volunteers.
She became an employee of the community association nearly 27 years ago.
Mrs. Brown was an accomplished knitter, crocheter, quilter and macrame artist.
"My mother could go all day and all night in her four-inch heels," said her daughter, Dr. Angela J. Brown of Baltimore. "She was a shoe lady, and a high-heeled shoe lady at that. She had an amazing zest for life."
Mrs. Brown left the association and worked for about five years for two Howard County executives, Democrat Elizabeth Bobo and Republican Charles I. Ecker.
"I admired what she did and how she did it," said Mr. Ecker. "She was the kind of person who made you feel good."
Mrs. Brown became the Columbia Association's president after the previous president had been ousted and board members couldn't agree on a replacement.
"I will always think of her as the mayor of Columbia," said Pearl Atkinson Stewart, a friend who served on her board. "She was fair, honest and unique."
Friends said that Mrs. Brown threw herself into the community. She regularly played golf at the association's courses and swam in its pools. She swam 60 laps four times a week.
"Maggie infused the Columbia Association with a spirit of camaraderie and enthusiasm," said the association's president, Philip Nelson. "She undertook the challenge of rejuvenating and revitalizing an organization beset with low morale, and led it with strength of character and purpose."
He said that she was the "voice of reason and compromise, the spirit of caring and compassion" while being an advocate of equality.
Her daughter said her mother was "modest at home and never spoke of her accomplishments."
She also enjoyed cooking family meals, world travel and music.
When she retired last year, she said she 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," she told a Baltimore Sun reporter.
In addition to her husband of 47 years and her daughter, survivors include her two sons, Michael Brown of Beltsville and Kevin Brown of Silver Spring; and four grandchildren.