When Mary "Molly" (Priedeman) Brown passed away on September 5, 2010 at the age of 89, her obituary noted that she was "...a robust, colorful type of character western legends are made of, a woman who flew airplanes, carved gunstocks and worked at times on a Montana ranch, riding on horseback and rolling her own cigarettes with one hand."
Mrs. Brown was also a lifelong supporter of her alma mater, the Summit School, and then the merged St. Paul Academy and Summit School along with her husband, the late Robert C. Brown '41. Her support continues even after her passing, as SPA was honored to receive a very generous bequest in Mrs. Brown's will that will support the faculty and student experience at the school for years to come. Mrs. Brown's bequest joins that of her late husband, who also remembered SPA in his will.
Mrs. Brown was born in St. Paul. She graduated from Summit School in 1939 and Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., with a major in Art. In 1950 she married Mr. Brown, St. Paul Academy Class of 1941, after turning him down twice.
In 1951 the pair moved to Osceola, Wisc., and built a house north of town on the bluffs of the St. Croix River. As they began their life together, their mutual passion for airplanes resulted in a business partnership as well as a life partnership: they founded the successful Champion Aircraft Corp. in Osceola, and Champions were marketed and sold worldwide. Mrs. Brown herself was a private pilot, and enjoyed flying throughout her life.
Other lifelong interests and passions included spending her summers on the family's working ranch in Montana and all of the shooting sports, competing in skeet and trap shooting. Mrs. Brown attained championship shooting status, and her husband often jokingly referred to himself as her shell and gun bearer. Mrs. Brown was also a golfer and tennis player, playing and competing in Twin Cities area tournaments. The two were both avid hunters, game and land conservationists, and Mrs. Brown was active in her community as a member of the Osceola Business Association and a founding member of the Osceola Ambulance Association Board.
"SPA is both humbled and grateful by Molly and Bob's generous support throughout their lives and even after their passing," says Dorothy Goldie '73, Director of Institutional Advancement. "We are honored to count them both as members of the school's Torch and Lamp Society."
Mrs. Brown is survived by her sons Robert C. "RC" Brown Jr. and Patrick Brown, and granddaughter Bianca Brown. She will be sorely missed by her family, many friends, and the entire SPA community.
For information about how to plan a gift to St. Paul Academy and Summit School, please contact Dorothy Goldie at
651-696-1422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.