Jessie Mae Brown

Published 3:38 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

On October 18, 2023 Jessie Mae (Harvey) Brown went to be with the Lord in Caledonia, MI at the age of 93 years old. Jessie was the sixth child born on November 14, 1929 to Carrie and Eugene Harvey in Washington, NC. Jessie accepted Jesus Christ at St. Luke’s Church of Christ in Washington, NC, at twelve years of age. She graduated from Washington Colored High School (1948) and Winston Salem Teacher’s College (1953). She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. In 1964, Jessie married Ben E. Brown in Woodland Park, MI. They met when she was teaching in Woodland Park and Ben was a poultry farmer in Bitely, MI. They were married for 33 years until Ben’s death in 1997. During their marriage she served with her husband as he pastored the Bible Study Center Church in Brohman, MI. In 1961, she became the first black woman to apply for a teaching position in the Baldwin School District. The Superintendent told her no one black had ever applied and he did not know what to tell her. She left, went to Detroit and returned a few years later to teach in Bitely, Covert, and finally became the first black teacher in the Baldwin School District. Jessie taught elementary school for 34 years and 28 of those years were in Baldwin, MI. She and her husband were also proud business owners until his death. In later years, she relocated to Lansing, MI and Birmingham, MI. She faithfully united with churches in those cities. In addition to being a bible scholar, she was also an avid reader, gardener, traveler and believer of friendship and fellowship. She leaves to cherish her memory, a sister Evelyn Gaines. Daughters: Cascelia (David), Denise and Benita, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and a host of nieces & nephews. A memorial service for Jessie M. Brown is scheduled for Wednesday October 25, 2023: Visitation – 12:00 Noon; Memorial Service – 1:00 pm at MKD Funeral Home, 4646 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Kentwood, MI. Burial service will be conducted at Harvey Hamlet Cemetery (a family cemetery plot), in Washington, North Carolina.