By Rebecca Goodman
Enquirer staff writer
SILVERTON - At a ceremony at Burton Elementary School in April, a proclamation by Mayor Charlie Luken was read designating May 7 "Jacqueline Brown Day" in Cincinnati.
Ms. Brown - a librarian, reading specialist and champion of children - died of lung cancer Sunday at Hospice of Cincinnati in Blue Ash.
She had undergone surgery to remove the cancer two years ago and believed herself to be cancer free. But it returned, forcing her to abruptly leave her job this spring.
At the ceremony in April, the students sang for her, and three of them received a scholarship for reading excellency that bears her name.
Jackie, as her friends called her, had a "mission to better the lives of children," said her son, George Brown of Golf Manor, a funeral director at Jamison & Jamison Funeral Home.
She "touched the lives of countless children in an effort to improve the quality of their lives through education."
Ms. Brown approached everything she did with a characteristic passion and enthusiasm.
She surrounded herself with a dozen or so friends who formed a club dubbed "The Girls."
She loved books and was a fan of the Chicken Soup and Harry Potter series. She also loved Star Trek and Star Wars movies, Motown music and Halloween.
Born on Oct. 31, 1948, "she was a Halloween baby - that was her day," her son said. "Dressing up, pumpkins, Halloween stories - the whole nine. She went all out. She even renamed the jack-o-lantern the 'Jacque-lantern.'"
A native Cincinnatian, Ms. Brown was the eldest of four daughters of Betty Thrasher Smith and Wallace "Bud" Smith, the world lightweight boxing champion in 1955. She graduated from Withrow High School in 1966 and received a bachelor's degree in education from Tennessee State University in 1970.
An educator for 35 years, she taught second and third grades in California and North Carolina before returning to Cincinnati, where she worked at North Fairmont and Burton elementary schools. She became a librarian at Burton about five years ago, her son said.
One of her fondest wishes was to see her younger son, Geoffrey, who is a student at the UC's College of Law, become a lawyer.
Ms. Brown was a member of the Cincinnati Teacher's Federation, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Kappa and Xenos Christian Fellowship and loved to surround herself with her friends and sorority sisters.
In addition to her sons, survivors include her mother, who lives in Silverton; three sisters, Gayle Jones of Atlanta, Colette Smith of Silverton and Judy Jamison-Florence of Amberley Village; her companion of five years, Charles "Mr. Charlie" Roberts; and three grandchildren.
Visitation is 9 a.m. today followed by the funeral at Thompson, Hall & Jordan Funeral Home, 11400 Winton Road, Forest Park. Burial will be at Walnut Hills Cemetery.
Memorials: Jacqueline Brown Scholarship, Girl Friends' Reading Group, P.O. Box 24260, Cincinnati, OH 45224.
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