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Jere' Marie Brown

Malvern, AR, 1930 - 2010

Jere' Marie Franz Brown, age 80 of Malvern, died Saturday morning, July 24, 2010 in Little Rock. Born on July 14, 1930 in Mexico, Missouri to the late Gertrude "Priss" Donahoo and Leo Franz, Plant Manager/Supervisor of Acme Brick Company in Perla, Jere' often visited the workplace and became known affectionately as the "Brickyard Brat." Reared in Malvern, she later graduated from St. Scholastica Academy in Fort Smith in 1949, attended the Texas State College for Women and finished at Henderson State Teachers College. Upon graduation, she worked as a telephone operator at the Malvern switchboard. One night in December of 1955, while alone at the board, she was credited with saving many lives and property when a regulator valve of the natural gas pipeline was damaged, allowing gas to pour unchecked into the homes of 450 residents of North Malvern. After the first report, she notified not only the endangered residents, but called out the fire crew. In recognition of her outstanding service and heroism, she was awarded the prestigious bronze Vail medal, established in 1920 as a memorial to Theodore N. Vail, former president of AT&T. She retired from the Hot Springs office in 1983. Jere' belonged to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church of Malvern, was a member of the Telephone Pioneers, and was a Red Cross swimming instructor, teaching numerous children in her front yard swimming pool. She made and taught ceramics, and after her retirement joined several bowling leagues. Jere' loved her cats and cherished time spent with her grandsons and great-grandchildren.
She is survived by her husband, Ben Brown, to whom she was married on February 1, 1968; by her daughter, Molly Wren Alexander Teeter and son-in-law, Darry of Little Rock; a step-son, Leroy Brown of Tennessee; a brother, Edward Franz and sister-in-law, Bettye of Tulsa, Oklahoma; a sister, Lorita "Bitsy" Cates of Little Rock; two grandsons, Everett Franz Smith and Sara, William Wren Smith and Christine; and three great-grandchildren, Charles Everett, Lily Marie, and Owen Wren Smith; and one due in December.
Visitation will be Wednesday evening, July 28, from 5:30 until 7 p.m. at J.A. Funk Funeral Home, immediately followed by a rosary service beginning at 7 p.m., led by Deacon Bud Daven. Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Thursday morning, July 29, at 10 a.m., with Father Matt Garrison as celebrant. The burial of her ashes will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, P.O. Box 50, Memphis, Tenn. 38101. Online condolences may be made via

Published July 27, 2010

J. A. Funk Funeral Home
318 Ash , Malvern, AR
Phone: 501-332-4625