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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2015 file photo, from left, Maxine Brown, Bonnie Brown and Becky Brown stand onstage at The Country Music Hall of Fame 2015 Medallion Ceremony at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. Maxine Brown died Monday from complications of heart and kidney disease. She was 87. (Invision/AP, File / Laura Roberts )

Country Music Hall of Fame member Maxine Brown Russell, the last surviving member of the the Browns trio, died Monday in Little Rock.

Brown Russell, 87, died at about 10:20 a.m. after suffering from heart and kidney complications, said her son, Jimmy Russell. She was in hospice care in Little Rock.

"She really kind of loved the life she had as a country singer and Grand Ole Opry singer and a star," Russell said.

In 2015, the Country Music Hall of Fame inducted the Browns -- Brown Russell, brother Jim Ed Brown and sister Bonnie Brown Ring.

"We're no spring chickens, and we're so proud that we're getting this award while we've still got six feet above ground," Brown Russell said in a 2015 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article. "We love you. Thank you so much."

Brown Russell wrote about her life in her 2005 autobiography Looking Back to See, named after the trio's acclaimed song of the same title.

"An entertainer puts on paint. And an author strips it all off and bares the soul," she said in a 2005 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article.

Other hits by The Browns included "The Three Bells," "Scarlet Ribbons" and "The Old Lamp Lighter."

The group rocketed to stardom in the 1950s and 1960s, hitting No. 1 spots on pop and country charts and appearing on programs such as The Ed Sullivan Show.

The trio broke up in 1967 when Brown Russell and her sister decided to focus on their families, Brown said in the article.

Brown Russell was born in Campti, La. The family later moved to southeast Arkansas. She and her siblings grew up in the piney woods, near Pine Bluff, according to The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

"I just kept thinking about that family history. They were humble, sweet, kind people and that's where it truly started," said her daughter, Alicia Short.

Short is an Arkansas history teacher.

"I teach it. She lived it," Short said.

Brown Russell, who lived in North Little Rock, had three children and six grandchildren. Growing up, Jimmy Russell said country music stars were always in and out of the family's home.

"You know as far as like early memories around our house you never know who would pop in, from Willie Nelson to George Jones to Conway Twitty," he said.

Russell said his mother loved to play jokes on people.

"You know she was real spunky," Russell said.

He said just five days before her death, his mother was up autographing copies of her book.

Metro on 01/22/2019

Print Headline: Maxine Brown Russell, last of Brown family singers, dies; musician grew up near Pine Bluff, lived in North Little Rock


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Archived Comments

  • larbecca03301125
    January 22, 2019 at 6:29 a.m.

    The Browns, The Pine Bluff Trio Supper Club. Now that's history and good music. Thanks for those memories.

  • MaxCady
    January 22, 2019 at 10:05 p.m.

    Back in the day those 3 were some hot pieces of a$$!

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    January 22, 2019 at 10:21 p.m.

    Sure something about those Holly-wood lights.
    I think everyone was blinded by the shine back then.
    A singer...
    And she made Ency. Arkansas Hist/Culture.
    That maybe impressive I havent seen the other Historical and Cultural notations.
    I'll have to look that book up.
    I bet she was still pretty warm until yesterday too Max.