On May 11, 2020 Janet Lucile Farrington Brown, 82, of Crete, Nebraska passed away after a short battle with cancer. Janet was the matriarch of her beloved family. Sharp in mind and intellect, hers was a life well-lived from an American era that may never come again. Janet loved her family and husband, Fred, to the end. We loved her back and always will. In her own way she took the road less traveled and that made all the difference. To those who truly knew her, Janet was a unique human being, particularly because of her creativity and boldness. Janet’s intuition, which was almost always true, helped her friends and family throughout their lives. When her intuition was incorrect, Janet would not hesitate to re-evaluate. For instance, her intuition to buy Fred a puppy may have been off, but it was still a good idea to give him the Siamese kitten "Bob" later. Janet was born April 7, 1938 in St. Louis, Missouri as the second child of Owen Price and Helen Lucile Farrington. At age five her family moved to Alliance, Nebraska where her father owned a drug store called Holstein’s. Janet and her two siblings graduated from Alliance High School, including her older brother, Daniel, and a younger sister, Mary Jo. Janet loved Alliance. She loved the pharmacy her father operated, the "movie picture shows," the brick streets, the golf course Owen helped establish, and the Sand Hills. After graduating in 1956, Janet attended Doane College in Crete, Nebraska where she studied psychology. At Doane she connected with Frederic Dean Brown, who was a sophomore. After Fred graduated from Doane in 1959, they were married June 25, 1960. They spent their first years together in Philadelphia, where Fred attended graduate school and where they had their first child, Frederic Montgomery (Monty) Brown (1961). After Fred finished his graduate studies, they moved to Athens, West Virginia where the Browns had their second child, Jane-Stewart (1963). Janet was a dedicated stay-at-home mother. She also overcame dyslexia and could read like the wind and did so her entire adult life. Janet was politically aware her full life; she and Fred were awakened to the cause of the Civil Rights Movement. They joined a large group at Bluefield State, a predominately black college, and both were involved in demonstrations for peace and the return of Americans from Vietnam. The upheavals in the 1960s and early '70s molded both into lifelong Democrats. In 1965, they moved to St. Peter, Minnesota where Fred was a professor and later Dean of Faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College. Janet campaigned for Eugene McCarthy and was a strong voice in St. Peter to end the Vietnam War. She recalled that she had once had lunch with McCarthy…or at least, she had lunch “next to him.” The Browns continued their active social life where they met and, in some cases, housed, many lifelong friends - Craig, Elsa, Linda and Kathy, to name but a few. In St. Peter, the “second wave” of Brown children were born: Ian Farrington (1969) and MaryHelen (1972). In 1973, the Browns moved to Storm Lake, Iowa. Despite four children to look after, Janet continued her community involvement. She and Fred supported Jimmy Carter in his campaign for presidency and she even met President Carter twice. Janet loved watching her children play and grow and encouraged their independence and creativity. In 1987, Janet and Fred moved to Crete, Nebraska where Fred began his 18-year presidency at their alma mater, Doane College. They later purchased and have developed acreages on the edge of Crete called Farrington Acres. Janet’s boundless creativity took many forms throughout her life. Janet was an expert self-taught quilter and genealogist. Her unique quilt motif was sailboat or arrow patterns, inspired by the underground railroad and secret messaging themes from the Civil War era. Once she even attempted to write a mystery book, although after 70 pages she lost interest. Janet came to find that she didn’t like long term things, but for short-term projects, she would excel. Janet is survived by her husband, Fred; sister Mary Jo Farrington, Rapid City, SD; and four children, including F. Montgomery Brown, Johnston, IA; Jane-Stewart Brown Engebretson and husband Alec, Lincoln, NE; Ian Farrington Brown, Brownsville, IN; and Mary Helen Farrington-Brown and husband Brian O’Hare, Meridian, ID. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren include Katherine Brown and Grady Brown; Colin Engebretson (Kristin), Elisabeth Engebretson Hessheimer (Cody and daughter Lilla Jane Hessheimer), Anthony Engebretson and Molly Engebretson; Cameryn Brown and Crew Brown; and Erin O’Hare and Samantha O’Hare. Janet was cremated and will be buried next to her parents and brother in Alliance. Kuncl Funeral Home in Crete is in charge of arrangements.
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