Obituary of Sonja Brown
Our dearest mother, Sonja Roswitha Brown, age 84, passed quietly and peacefully to heaven to join her husband and our father, Dugal M Brown, Sr. and son, Dugal, Jr., on November 7, 2017, at Highland Hospital, Rochester, NY.
Sonja was born on January 29, 1933 in Germany, the youngest of four daughters, to Josef and Gertrude Schmied. Our father, a first-generation Scottish-American from a family of 17 children, joined the Merchant Marines while in his teens after the death of his father, David Gladstone Brown. The Merchant Marines took him on adventures for twelve years aboard large ships carrying war and other supplies to ports throughout the world including China, Alaska, South America, and the South Pacific. The Army eventually caught up with him where he became stationed in Mannheim, Germany. It was in Mannheim that he met and fell in love with his future bride, Sonja. After the war, our father returned to the US and our mother soon followed, traveling for two weeks by ship, across the Atlantic Ocean, leaving her family and homeland behind to immigrate to the US. In 1959, our father retrieved Sonja from the hospital following the birth of their third daughter, to a new home in Altmar, NY where they resided for over fifty years raising six daughters and one son.
Our mother made a truly loving home for us with both parents assigning chores both inside our home and outside on the farm. Every Sunday we enjoyed her homemade German kuchen and tradition German treats. She was a fabulous 'meat & potatos' cook having dinner on the table every evening at 5:00pm when our father arrived home from work. She rose early each workday morning to cook breakfast for our father, pack his lunchbox for work, pack our lunches for school, and lined us all up to have our hair braided and fancy before getting us off to school. Our mother would often crochet and knit us dresses, scarves, hats, mittens, and blankets. When pre-planned family calls came from Germany, we would all gather to watch our mother and listen even though we could not understand what she was saying in German. What we could easily feel was what the calls meant to all of them. To the dismay of her parents, we were not taught German at home due to fear of discrimination since our mother was not always welcomed here after the war. That clearly changed over the years evidenced by all who love her.
Dugal and Sonja established Brown's Campgrounds in the early 1970s which they operated full-time following our father's retirement from General Electric and which continues to flourish today.
Sonja moved to Rochester, NY four years ago growing friendships at Heather Heights and Legacy Fairways.
She was a devoted and loving daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, and friend. She lived with a pure heart and sincere compassion for others. We have always experienced her courage, strength, stamina, and devotion, yet she leaves us in awe. She provided by example how to enjoy and appreciate each day, the value of family and friends, and how a simple smile or kind word can make the difference in another's life.
Our mother was very generous to her grandchildren often taking them on adventures to Disney, The North Pole, Thousand Islands, and to swim with dolphins in Florida. She was thrilled with the arrival of each great-grandchild.
Thank you to URMC nurses, PAs, Dr. David Delorito, Dr. Christian Klein, Dr. Peter Knight, Dr. John Ginnetti, and Janice Opladen, NP for your medical care and sharing stories and laughs with our mother. We are forever grateful to Dr. R. James White for his tremendous attention in extending her quality of life. Thank you to Dr. Sharon Springer, Dr. Santo Difino, and Dr. Salil Gupta for her care in Syracuse.
Surviving are six daughters, Carla Heh of Titusville, FL, Dolores (Bob) Beeso of Gardner, KS, Elaine Mizzoni of Pittsford, NY, Gloria Brown Vacanti (Michael) of Pittsford, NY, Monica (Pete) Garner of Mexico, NY, and Suzanne Toole of Minoa, NY. Nine grandchildren, Jon Herrman Jr, Joseph Beeso, Alexander Mizzoni, Troy Brown, Kara Kays, Hayden Garner, Rachel and Jeffrey Toole, and Brandon Paronett. Five great-grandchildren, Jon, Erika, Spencer, Caleb, and Dante. Sonja was predeceased by her only son, Dugal M. Brown Jr on June 13, 1990 and her husband on November 4, 1998.
Funeral Services will be held 1p.m. Sunday, November 12th, at the Foster-Hax Funeral Home, 52 Park Street Pulaski. Calling hours will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. prior to the service. Sonja will be laid to rest at Riverside Cemetery.