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Mary Agnes Browne

October 16, 1922 August 21, 2020
Mary Agnes Browne
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Obituary for Mary Agnes Browne

Mary Agnes Browne nee Kirsch, age 97, longtime resident of Oak Park, Illinois, passed away on August 21, 2020. Beloved wife of the late William B.; much loved mother of Meredith Upward, Carolyn, J. Danforth (Carol), and Nancy (Frederick Herbine); cherished grandmother of Benjamin (Jennifer), Andrew (Danielle), Stephen, Michael, Lauren and Quinn, and great-grandmother of Ryan, Gavin, Nolan, Conrad and Carolyn Claire. She was the daughter of Agnes Mackie Kirsch and James Lewis Kirsch, also of Oak Park.

Mary was welcoming, giving, friendly, gracious, loyal and always “put together” in all her roles: daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, homemaker, volunteer, board member, room mother, tour escort, church guild member, hostess, traveler.

Her life was local. Born in Syracuse, New York, her family moved to Oak Park in 1927 when she was 5 years old and she lived almost her entire life in the house her parents built on Woodbine Avenue. She attended Oak Park schools and Oak Park churches. She did two years at DePauw University before returning home to help take care of her father. She was an executive secretary at the Marshall Field’s downtown store and loved working on the same floor as the restaurants and food section.

She met her future husband, William (Bill) Browne at a church social (he impressed her by fixing the record player). Together they would nurture a family and a business in Oak Park. Mary contributed her time and support to many local efforts, volunteering for school functions and PTA, a member of the board at the Nineteenth Century Club (she especially loved her work on the Scholarship Committee), the Women's Guild at the First Presbyterian Church, the Infant Welfare Society, the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery, the Oak Park Country Club, Phi Sigma and others.

At home she was “mom” to four children as well as partner to Bill. She was the keeper of traditions, an occasional gardener, handy with needles, thread and yarn, a recounter of family history, household manager (a child of the Depression and a Scotch mother, she was quite good at this), a rock when someone was sick, creator of beautiful holiday tables, a talented baker, and a competitive player of Spoons, Chinese Checkers and Double Solitaire. She traveled with Bill to many foreign locations and was always happy to come home. Her favorite other place was Door County, Wisconsin, where she loved walking the beach, exploring the peninsula, and time with her extended family.

A strong and beautiful woman, Mary was 97 when she left us with good memories of a life well and graciously lived.

A private family service will be held followed by internment at the First United Church of Oak Park Memory Garden. A larger celebration of Mary’s life may be held in the future.
No flowers by request. Donations to the Ridges Nature Sanctuary ( or the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association (

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Event Information

Services are private.

Memorial Contribution

The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association

178 Forest Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60301

Ridges Nature Sanctuary

8166 WI-57
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

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