WANDA JUNE BROWN
Wanda June Brown, 86, of Orlando, FL, passed peacefully on Feb. 11, 2022, surrounded by family. She was born in the Clay Hill community of Freestone County, and she is the daughter of Delois Hullum, farmer and oil field worker, and Lydia Josephine Utsey, homemaker. Brown graduated from Teague High School and was crowned homecoming queen in 1953.
She met her husband of 67 years, James Brown, when he approached her at a skating rink and asked her to double skate. Although she initially declined his advance, they were married in September 1954 after he returned from Korea.
During a year as a young married couple in the Air Force, they developed friendships that were rekindled at reunions throughout the years. Upon discharge from the Air Force in 1955, her husband enrolled at Texas A&M. She worked on campus while he pursued a degree in electrical engineering. In 1958, with degree in hand, they headed for a job in Dallas with a baby boy on board and thus Brown began her career as homemaker and mother.
A career opportunity brought them to Orlando in 1963, where they raised three children (Barry, Susan and Lydia) and made great friends with their neighbors on Stevens Avenue. Easter Sunday of 1963, they first attended Delaney Street Baptist Church which became the center of their religious and social lives. She worked in vacation bible school and served on personnel committees.
After the children were out of the house, she declared her independence from cooking and cleaning and joined book clubs, an investment club and the Red Hat Society. She and her fellow Red Hatters had great times dining, traveling and laughing together. She loved to travel, often returning to Texas to visit relatives. She and her husband took many driving trips out West to Texas, New Mexico and Colorado and other states.
She was especially close to her three brothers, Paul (called Brother and Pistol), Edgar (called Toby) and Delois (called Pete). They all affectionately called her “Sis.” She was dearly loved and respected by them and their spouses as well as her husband’s 11 siblings and spouses along with many nieces and nephews on both sides of the family.
Her passion was her grandchildren Rachael, Natalie, James, Will and Clarke. They will cherish memories of her love, singing and general silliness. She also had a love of learning and reading. She spent many hours in her later years watching PBS documentaries and Ken Burns specials. She wanted to know the how and why of current and historical events. Because of her own humble upbringing, she had a special place in her heart for the poor and disadvantaged.
She is survived by husband, James; son, Barry Brown; daughters, Susan Bantis (Charlie), Lydia Kiser (Jeff) and grandchildren, Rachael Bantis Hornock (Colin), Natalie Bantis Weimer (Ricky), James Banti,; Will Kiser and Clarke Kiser. She was preceded in death by her three brothers.
A special thank you is extended to her close friends and family for their love and care, especially over the last year.
A celebration of her life will be conducted at 11a.m. Saturday, May 21, at Delaney Street Baptist Church with a reception to follow in the gymnasium.