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Mary Filosa Brown

Posted By Hall-Wynne On August 21, 2015 @ 1:57 pm In Durham,Obituaries | 55 Comments

“A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.”
– Maya Angelou
DURHAM: Mary Filosa Brown, 55, passed from our lives on August 18, 2015. To her family and friends, Mary was one of the greatest souls we’ve ever had the honor to know. Mary has left a deep and lasting impression upon us all. She was a joy to be near, endlessly compassionate and loving, full of energy, laughter, and love. Most importantly, Mary was a devoted wife and mother who loved her family and countless thankful friends with all of her heart. Mary’s gift was that each person lucky enough to know her understood that she genuinely cared for them, always wanted to know how they were doing, and would help them in any way she could. For that reason, Mary’s soul will never die, because it touched so many of ours, and our souls are better for having known her.
Born January 5, 1960, Mary was raised in Palatine, IL and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Knox College and an MSW from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Both led her to a career dedicated to helping the elderly, most recently as Vice-President of Operations at Suncrest Health Management. She and her family have been active members of both St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh and Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, most recently serving on the bereavement and welcoming committees, youth and Eucharistic ministries, and mentoring couples preparing for marriage. Mary was an ardent supporter of public education and her children while serving as PTA President at Pearsontown Elementary, Rogers-Herr Middle School and Jordan High School. She was an active member of the Woodlake Community, leading the Neighborhood Watch program, organizing the annual neighborhood barbecue and chairing the pool committee. She recently followed her concern for the elderly by joining the board of Meals on Wheels of Durham.
Mary was a passionate and dedicated athlete, running cross-country and track in college, completing numerous marathons and fulfilling her dream to qualify and run the Boston marathon. She was an organizer and planner of get-togethers and holidays, and caretaker of all. She organized a Supper Club that has lasted more than 25 years, Friday pizza nights, open invitation Thanksgiving suppers, and family reunions. Mary celebrated and nurtured all of her relationships, many of which forged life-long friendships.

Mary is survived by her loving husband of 28 years, Rick; her amazing children, Emily and Adam; her parents, Anthony and Irene Filosa; siblings, Mark (Anne), John (Cathy), Matt (MaryEllen), Luke (Karen), and Philip (Meegan); and many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. She will be sorely missed by us all, but we know that her soul will continue to bring us together for years to come.
The funeral Mass to celebrate Mary’s life will be 10:00 AM Monday from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, with Fr. Charley Miller, OFM presiding. A brief church reception will follow the funeral prior to burial in St. Matthew Catholic Cemetery. Friends will be received 2-5 PM Sunday at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Contributions to honor the life of Mary may be made to the Mary Brown Memorial Fund, c/o Immaculate Conception Church at 810 W. Chapel Hill Street Durham, NC 27701.

Condolences for the family of “Mary Filosa Brown”

Condolence from Cindy Deporter on August 21st, 2015 2:48 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. She leaves a big hole.

Condolence from Cameron Buchanan on August 21st, 2015 2:58 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you and your family have been in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult and tragic time.


Condolence from Eileen Olson on August 21st, 2015 3:30 pm

Thinking and praying for you Rick, Emily and Adam. Will see you soon. Love you

Condolence from Jesse on August 21st, 2015 4:15 pm

It was a real blessing knowing and working with Mary. She has a true zest for life and was passionate in everything she did. I am a block captain and area coordinator for the Woodlake neighborhood and I remembered how well organized she was during the various neighborhood events she planned. She will be missed tremendously.

Condolence from John Mitterling on August 21st, 2015 4:31 pm

Rick, Emily, and Adam, and the whole Brown and Filosa family: please know that everyone at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle is praying for you all and celebrating the life of Mary Brown. What a wonderful lady she was, and so good to us. We love you.

Condolence from Dennis Murphy ’82 on August 21st, 2015 4:32 pm

Rick and family,
I am so sorry to hear of Mary’s passing. She was a deeply loving and joyful soul. A treasure this world will miss. I wish there was something profound that I could say to help alleviate your pain, but there’s not. I can only take comfort in knowing the loving graceful presence of Christ will surround your heart as He holds you in your grief. You are in my prayers.


Condolence from Bob and Susan kennedy on August 21st, 2015 5:03 pm

Rick and family, our hearts hurt for your loss of this beautiful lady. We knew her for a short time, but we saw what a delight she was. Please know we are praying for you all. Bob and Susan

Condolence from Kim & David Wait on August 21st, 2015 9:43 pm

Dear Rick, Emily & Adam,
We are beyond heartbroken about losing our precious “Mary Brown”. We loved her dearly. She made our schools a better place for our kids, our neighborhood a better community and made us better people. She got David Wait to be president of the Rogers-Herr PTA for heavens sake! She was a force of nature and we will miss her. We love you guys. You are in our constant prayers.
The Waits

Condolence from Lisa (Koryta) Wortsmann on August 21st, 2015 10:04 pm

Rick, Emily, Adam and the entire Filosa family:
Please know that in this time of shock and grief that Mary has made an amazing impact to so many people over her life. Mary was my first and best friend throughout high school and someone I will alway remember as a person with incredible friendship and love. I am so sad and words can not describe the loss I feel. I pray for all of you. Mary was an amazing friend!


Condolence from Louise Koryta on August 21st, 2015 10:12 pm

Mary was a long-time friend of my sisters since their days at Fremd High School. Remembering her genuine smile and contagious laugh will always bring a smile to face. I like to remember her justification for running so much was so she could get a donut. I am very, very saddened by her passing and my thoughts and prayers are with her entire family and all those whose lives she touched.

Condolence from KIrk Johnson on August 21st, 2015 10:25 pm

Rick, Emily and Adam: My deepest sympathies to your family on the great loss you have suffered. My thoughts and prayers are with you. kj

Condolence from Cindy Ray Keene on August 21st, 2015 10:34 pm


I am so sad to learn of Mary’s passing. You and your family are in my prayers.

Condolence from Laurie Blanton on August 22nd, 2015 9:47 am

Mary Filosa Brown was an incredible woman who inspired many of us to be the best worker, friend, and person we could be. She was excellent at so many things. Our world was better for having had the opportunity of having known her. She willed be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family at this time.

Condolence from Gwen Blais on August 22nd, 2015 10:21 am

Rick and children: Our only consolation is to know that we will be reunited with the Heavenly Father. I know that God will keep you and comfort you. Mary was a light in this world. I wish I was there to give you a hug. Love Gwen

Condolence from Rita (ReRe) De Mario on August 22nd, 2015 10:39 am

Love is the greatest gift of life and most profound experience. Mary made sure you never missed the purpose of life. A quote from Norman Cousins ~ the clock provides only a technical measurement of how we live. Far more than the ticking of time is a way we open the minutes and invest them with meaning. It is certainly true that Mary was born from love. Dedicating herself to be a lover in the thousands of ways in which she touched our lives. I think Mary’s death must be a celebration of life. She would have wanted you to celebrate the people in your lives now. I can hear her say, learn from adversity and it isn’t adversity its windows of opportunity.

Condolence from Pausback Family on August 22nd, 2015 11:07 am

A bit of Mary will be carried in so many hearts, and especially yours, Rick, Adam and Emily. She’ll never be too far away. She’ll watch over you closely. And she will surely have great rewards in heaven, because she always gave her love, strength and joy to everyone here. We offer our thoughts and prayers and love to all of you. We’re here for you, whenever you need us. As she will be in spirit.

Condolence from Bob – LaVone Carver on August 22nd, 2015 11:30 am

We are so sorry for your loss. We will keep you and your family in our prayers asking the Holy Spirit to comfort you during this difficult time.

Condolence from Kevin Nickodem on August 22nd, 2015 12:16 pm

I know there is little, if anything, I can say to ease the pain. Know that my heart aches for you.

Condolence from Chipper Thornton on August 22nd, 2015 1:16 pm

I am so sad to hear of Mary’s passing. She was on of the most robust, hard working, and just fun people I have ever met. My heart is heavy and I will miss Mary’s big smile and laughter.

What a fabulous lady she was. God be with you all.

Condolence from Judy Symmonds on August 22nd, 2015 5:28 pm

To all of Mary’s family: Wanted to let you know what a positive impact she made on so many lives., especially mine. I adored her. I pray God will give you all comfort at this time of loss. Will miss her beautiful, joyful, loving smile. May GOD be with you all.

Condolence from linda dailey on August 22nd, 2015 8:08 pm

we will miss mary so very much! my heartfelt condolences to her family.

Condolence from Phyllis Reed on August 22nd, 2015 11:01 pm

Rick and Famly – You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. I never met Mary, but she sounds like a truly remarkable lady! God will be with you.

Condolence from Jeff and Stacy DePorter on August 23rd, 2015 5:52 am

Rick, Emily and Adam,

Our hearts are aching with yours. Mary is such a joyful inspiration to us all. Her smile and loving heart is contagious. She is loving you as she always has. Our prayers go out to all of you . God bless you and keep you.

Jeff and Stacy

Condolence from Karen Marlowe on August 23rd, 2015 11:47 am

Mary touched so many lives. She was so instrumental in my career in long term care. She always brought positive in her caring spirit. I’m so sorry for this great loss. Heaven has gained an angel.

Condolence from Frank and Rosemarie Schuler on August 23rd, 2015 2:22 pm

To Rick, Emily, Adam and all of Mary’s family,
Mary was a wonderful person whose zest for life was inspirational. May you find peace in Christ and know we are praying for you.

Condolence from Kim and Peggy Anglin on August 23rd, 2015 3:01 pm

Rick, Emily and Adam,
You are in our prayers. I have many fond memories of talking about running adventures with Mary. I run in Galesburg and at Knox College when we visit relatives. Mary had a great story of her role as a race director with a train in the middle of the race course. It was a once a month train forgotten by the train station schedule manager. Mary’s telling was hilarious. PTA, soccer, App State trips to visit our daughter- memories that we share with Rick and Mary.

Condolence from Ed and Mary Pat Bianchi on August 23rd, 2015 4:48 pm

Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow,

May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow …Anonymous

Rick – Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Condolence from Mr. Peter J. Albrecht on August 23rd, 2015 5:09 pm

“Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through

But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end

Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show

But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end

Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends”

Mary, I was so very blessed to call you my beloved life long friend! My heart felt condolences to both the Brown and Filosa Families

Condolence from Felicia Woodard on August 23rd, 2015 9:22 pm

My sincere condolensces to the Brown Family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Condolence from Lance & Denise Buchanan on August 23rd, 2015 9:32 pm

Matt, our hearts and prayers are with you and your family during this time of the difficult loss of your sister.

Condolence from Jamaal & Shentelle Livan on August 24th, 2015 6:39 am

May you find find comfort in this time of loss; we offer you and the family our sincerest condolences, thoughts, and prayers.

Blessed regards,
The Livan Family

Condolence from Betsy Harmon on August 24th, 2015 7:38 am

Rick, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Mary sounds like a gift and I’m glad that you were able to spend so many happy years together. My heart and prayers are with you and your family.

Condolence from Robby Tisci on August 24th, 2015 9:00 am

My wife and I send our condolences. I worked with Mary in our Woodlake Community and I will miss her. Thank you for everything that you did for our community and every other community. We loved you dear Mary!

Condolence from Doug Vass on August 24th, 2015 9:25 am


I am deeply sorry for your loss. Know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from John & Cathie Morlock on August 24th, 2015 9:46 am

To the family of Mary, we are so sorry for your loss. You will all be in our thoughts and prayers.

Much love and hugs to all.

Condolence from Glenna Thompson on August 24th, 2015 9:48 am

RIck, Emily, Adam and the Filosa Family,

There is no way to lessen the sorrow of losing someone as precious as Mary, but please remember others care very much and wish you strength and comfort at this sad time. I pray that your faith carries you through. May God hold you all close and provide the comfort that each one of you need.

Condolence from Jackie S. Astrop on August 24th, 2015 11:01 am

Rick and family,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. No words can console what your heart is feeling. I am praying God’s presence will keep you and your family covered with peace. My deepest condolences.

Condolence from Brenda Ray on August 24th, 2015 12:49 pm

I am so sorry to hear about Mary. We worked together on the Jordan PTA for years. She was president, head of our fitness committee, always challenging the parents to stay active. At this time I am at a loss for words, but I know all the wonderful memories will help you thru this time of grieve.



Condolence from Meghan and John Lyons on August 24th, 2015 1:16 pm

You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Fred Chesson on August 24th, 2015 2:51 pm

Rick, I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that my sincere thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. Wishing you strength now and the days ahead.

Condolence from Shayne Ruffing on August 25th, 2015 12:40 pm


I am so sorry to hear about this. Kevin Nickodem shared the news with me. I am thinking about you and your family and praying for God’s grace and strength to you and yours.

Condolence from Rick & Sue Schultze on August 25th, 2015 3:33 pm

We are so sorry for your loss and will keep you and your family in our prayers.
Mary touched many lives with her smile, kindness and laugh.
Sending comfort to you at this most difficult time.

Condolence from Ron and Carol Gorenc on August 25th, 2015 4:22 pm

So sorry to hear of your loss! Our thoughts and prayers are with the family! May GOD be with you all! Ron and Carol Gorenc

Condolence from Edwina Berry on August 25th, 2015 10:54 pm

You were always smiling, that’s what I remember. I am deeply saddened by your passing.. I send prayers for your lovely spirit and your family. God Bless

Condolence from Altha Trowell on August 26th, 2015 3:04 am

Our hearts are so sorry for your loss. An Earthly Angel. A Servant for Others. Calvin and Altha Trowell

Condolence from Elizabeth basala smith on August 26th, 2015 9:53 am


I am so very sorry to hear of you and your children’s loss, as well as, your entire families. She sounded like an amazing wife, mother, and friend to all who knew her. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.

Condolence from Elizabeth basala smith on August 26th, 2015 10:38 am


I am so very sorry to have learned about the loss of your wife. My heart goes out to you, your children, and your entire family. Thoughts and prayers sent to you at this extremely difficult time for you all.

Condolence from Ronald Cooper & Family on August 26th, 2015 6:46 pm

The Cooper Family extends heartfelt sympathy to the Family of Ms Brown. We have been familiar with this family since our youngest son, Bryant and their son Adam became friends at Pearsontown Elementary. Ms Brown was such an Inspiration to so many and will be missed. Even though we did not know her as well as others, words can not express the sorrow we feel…….We are one of the parents that did not know parents were invited to Pizza night until the boys were about to graduate from High School. We only got to attend once or twice and let it be known how we felt about that!! How we wish we could come back to Pizza Night and give Ms Brown a tough time again….. Smile, Love you guys…
God Bless……

Condolence from Marty Lamb on August 28th, 2015 8:51 am

Certainly not just ANY Mary Brown…May her spirit live on…

Condolence from Judy Marasco on August 29th, 2015 3:10 pm

I’m so sorry to hear of Mary’s passing. I remember her from high school days – haven’t seen her in years but was not surprised to read what an amazing person she was. I’m really sorry for your loss.

Condolence from Steve Toler on September 3rd, 2015 11:02 am


So sorry to hear of Mary’s passing…you both have been a positive force in Durham Public Schools and in Durham as a whole. Durham is a much better place for having you and Mary live here. May God comfort you and your family during this time and in the days ahead.

Condolence from Arvo & Joyce Eilau on September 4th, 2015 11:14 am

To the whole family.
It was a very long time ago that I met Mary, I could tell right away she was destined to help people and make the world a better place. What I now learned is that she did make our world a better place . As Mark’s college roommate we got to know each others familys. I can say that was ond of the best parts of college and that the Filosa family was welcoming. Mary was kind & caring from the first day Mark introducec me. I know she is now in Gods hands and we will see her again. Our condolences to the whole family.
Arvo and Joyce

Condolence from Gail Hughes Pacetti on October 1st, 2015 1:23 pm

Mary was a friend of mine (and I believe most everyone) at Fremd High School. Her smile , laugh and kindness is treasured. I am blessed to have known her.

I am so very sorry for your loss. I know Mary is in Gods loving arms now. My wish is that we all can continue to let her life shine!

Cheers to a life well lived!

Condolence from therese jessen on May 19th, 2016 7:19 pm

Rick, Emily and Adam,

I am so sorry to hear Mary has passed away. I wanted you to know how wonderful she was to my Mom while they worked together at St. Mary’s in Galesburg. My Mom adored her and treasured their friendship. I am forever grateful for Mary being there at times my Mom needed a friend.
Joan Kraul’s daughter

Condolence from Kevin Behrndt on December 6th, 2016 11:34 am

This is much belated, and I hope not inappropriate, but I just found out about Mary’s passing, and I am deeply deeply saddened. My thoughts and prayers go to the Brown family as well as the Filosa family, as I also knew her brothers John and Matt a bit. Unfortunately for me, I had not seen Mary in decades, but I was a close childhood friend of hers in Palatine as we went to school together at both Sanborn and at Palatine Hills Junior High. I feel the need to express my sympathies because even though we were just junior high schoolmates in our formative years, Mary made a lasting impression on me. It is not surprising to me at all reading about how fulfilling and successful her life was, because I could tell she was a special person even back then. We were in the same classes together and worked on things like student council, and even danced at a few sock hops. She was an intelligent high achiever, organized, and most of all compassionate and kind. I pulled out my yearbooks from those years, and the memories came flooding back.
My family moved out of the Chicago area after freshman year at Palatine High, and a few years later, after HS graduation in 1978, it was Mary who called me in St. Louis and invited me back to a reunion gathering of our 8th grade class that was going to be held before everyone set off for college. Unfortunately I could not attend due to a conflict which I really regret, but we had the chance to catch up. She told me she was going to Knox, a school I had looked at closely myself. It turns out I went to Notre Dame, where her brother John was at. A few years later when Mary was visiting her brother at ND, we arranged to meet and catch up in person, and it was so wonderful to talk to her. She had that special light that shined in her, and that is my last memory of her.
Ironically, one of my nephews is now a freshman at Knox, and his talking about his experiences so far there recently prompted me to simply google Mary’s name to see if I could find anything about her, whereupon I learned of her passing, as I saw stories about the Memorial Run there.
It saddens me that I did not keep up with Mary as life took us down our various paths, but it appears her life unfolded exactly as I knew it would. She was a special person who made a lasting impression even at that early stage of my life. RIP Mary and prayers to her family.

Kevin Behrndt

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