Louise Brownell, 103, Little Compton


Louise Berryman Brownell, 103, of 411 West Main Road, Little Compton died Thursday, March 27, 2014, at Village House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Newport.  Born in Little Compton on May 27, 1910, she was the daughter of the late Frederick Richmond Brownell and Lydora Almy Sisson.  Louise was born, raised and lived most of her life in the house on West Main Road built by her grandfather in 1802. After attending one-room schools in Little Compton she graduated from Dean Academy and Bryant College. 

She is survived by her sister Josephine Bridge, of Middletown, as well as nieces and nephews.  Louise was predeceased by her brothers, Frederick, Winthrop and Carlton, and sisters, Hope and Helen.

Louise worked as the office manager of the Athletic Department at Brown University for 40 years before retiring in 1970.  Her years at Brown, and the fact that her first boss there was an 1894 graduate, were charmingly summed up in an article in the October 1970 issue of The Brown Alumni Monthly, titled, “There Were No Loud Noises with Miss Brownell” which reads as follows:

“When Louise Brownell retired last June as office manager at Marvel Gym, Athletic Director Jack Heffernan had this to say:  ‘Louise has been the backbone of the ticket department for many years.  With her, there was no loud noise, just everything efficient.’

“A graduate of Dean Academy and Bryant College, Miss Brownell came to work for Brown in 1930 under Athletic Director Dr. Frederick W. Marvel ’94.  Her first job was in the sports publicity office under Joe Nutter ’24.  Later she served as secretary to Dr. Marvel and the coaches, handled ticket applications, and finally became ticket manager in 1941.

“During her 40 years at Brown, Miss Brownell worked for eight athletic directors; Dr. Marvel, Tom Taylor ’25, Dr. Bruce Bigelow ’24, Wally Snell ’13, Paul MacKesey ’32, Dean Edward Durgin, Dick Theibert, and Heffernan.

“For the most part, Miss Brownell worked a six-day week and, frequently, a 12-hour day.  In the fall, there were football games to take up the crisp Saturday afternoons.  Then, during winter season, hockey and basketball often kept her in the city long after closing hour at Marvel Gym.  And on Saturdays there were sometimes doubleheaders, wrestling in the afternoon and either basketball or hockey in the evening.

“Yet for a person who was such an integral part of the Brown sports scene, Miss Brownell seldom saw a complete game.  She’s under Brown Stadium counting her receipts until well into the fourth quarter and occasionally she makes it to the press box at Meehan, ‘just for a donut and cup of coffee,’ she’d say.

“Equal to Brown in Miss Brownell’s affection is her home town of Little Compton.  When they talk about “natives” of this quaint Rhode Island community, they are talking about Louise Brownell.  She once described it as the only place she’d ever live.

“At her farewell party there were the usual gifts.  But two seemed especially appropriate.  The hockey team presented her with a Victory Trophy for her service to hockey, 1930-1970.  And her friends gave her a three-speed English bike — just the thing for winding her way around the Common or along those elm-shaded streets of Little Compton.”

After leaving Brown University in 1970, Louise spent her retirement years in Little Compton and was a member of the United Congregation Church and a volunteer in the Thrift Shop.

Burial with be private.



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