A long and beautiful chapter in Monroe’s history came to a close on May 31st with the death of Mrs. Julian E. (Allyne Harris) Brown, in Sandy Springs, Ga.  She was five months shy of her 100th birthday.

          The Monroe First United Methodist Church, home to Allyne and Julian until their deaths, was the scene of her funeral service on June 4th.  The theme for her service was love. Love of family, love of friends, love of church and love of community.  From the roses atop her casket to the piano and organ music chosen for the service, the remembrances from family and friends and the eulogy given by Dr. Dane Waggoner, all bore testimony to the esteem and appreciation Monroe had for Allyne Brown.

          One of the quotes spoken at the service was from Dr. Seuss who said, “You never know the value of a life until it becomes a memory.”

          Memories of Allyne took me back to my very early years in Monroe First Methodist. In our grade school classes on Sunday mornings, before our lessons began we started off by singing well-known and beloved hymns which were played on the piano by this beautifully dressed lady who came into our rooms, played for our songs and left after the hymns were finished. As we grew older we learned she was Mrs. Brown, mother of our classmate, Sally.

          By the time we were in the elementary church school grades, we knew Mrs. Brown quite well as both she and her husband Julian were very active in almost every phase of church work, always taking on new responsibilities with a smile and un-boundless energy.  While Julian served on various committees and boards, Allyne was an active member of the Katie Caldwell Sunday School Class & the WSCS, utilizing her talents where ever they were needed. When the Methodist parsonage was updated back in the 1970’s, it was Allyne Brown and the late Georgia Huie who took on the task of making new curtains and draperies for the parsonage living room and dining room.

While Allyne’s services were geared toward the children’s area as piano player and teacher, Julian served with distinction from 1962 to 1964 as Chairman of the Official Board along with holding the responsibility of seeing the church grounds were always kept in pristine condition.  On any Saturday or early on Sunday morning, it was not unusual to see Julian out surveying his soil domain, making notes of things which needed attention.

And it was this same church where Allyne and Julian’s children, Jule, Judy and Sally grew up.  In showing the dedication of devoted parenting, Allyne took on an active role in her children’s lives as scout leader for son Jule and both church and social activites for daughters Judy and Sally. It was a joy for Allyne & Julian to share the fact all three children were president of the Methodist Youth Fellowship during their high school years.

Allyne and I crossed paths again during my junior high school years with her teaching me American History in the 8th grade in the old Monroe High School Building on Bold Springs Avenue. She had a passion in her teaching which came from her love and enjoyment of reading. She brought history alive for her students, giving us our first real sense of what our country stood for and was about.

          My last visit with Allyne was at the 50th celebration of the Monroe Area High School Class of 1964.  She was still as beautiful and elegant as always with that ever present smile on her face.  When I leaned over to speak to her and reminisce about my time with her in the eighth grade, she let me know right quick she still remembered me and how difficult it was for her to get me to appreciate history!

          Both Allyne and Julian led such full, interesting lives I did some research on both and came up with an interesting retrospective.

          Allyne was born on October 12, 1916, in Columbus, Georgia to Aubrey and Nella Richardson Harris.  She graduated from Cordele High School in 1933 and as a 16 year old she entered the University of Georgia where she met her future husband, Julian Emerson Brown.

          Julian Brown was born on July 8, 1915 in Marietta, Georgia to John Washington Lewis Brown and Pauline Newman Brown.  Julian’s grandfather’s brother, Joseph Emerson Brown of Canton, was the Civil War Governor of Georgia and Governor Brown’s son, Joseph Mackey Brown, was also governor of Georgia.

He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1937 with a degree in Agriculture. It was during his years at Georgia he met his future wife, Allyne Harris.  After his graduation from Georgia, he began working in the field of soil conservation with the United States Department of Agriculture.  He entered the military in 1941 but got an early discharge due to high blood pressure. After his discharge he resumed his career as District Soil Conservationist with the Soil Conservation Service where he served until his retirement in 1985.  During his tenure he worked with hundreds of landowners in Gwinnett and Walton County building ponds, laying out terraces and developing conservation plans for farms

          Allyne and Julian moved to Monroe in 1947 from Lawrenceville where they quickly established themselves among the community. Julian was responsible for coordinating the Walton County Soil and Water District’s conservation educational program at all the Walton County schools, including the home schoolers.

          The Julian E. Brown Environmental Study Area at Matthews Park in Monroe was developed as a study area over 30 years ago when Julian worked for the SCS. It encompasses 13 acres and has over 100 plants identified by numbered markers.  This Study Area was one of the first such areas in Georgia.

          Julian also wrote articles for the District’s column in the Walton Tribune, carrying the title, “Take Pride in Walton”.

                    Allyne & Julian were both avid readers and Allyne was on the board of the Walton County Public Library when the present library building was designed by James Williams and built on West Spring Street. Both Allyne and Julian loved bridge and played both bridge and canasta with couples along with Allyne being a member of several bridge clubs. 

          Working with soil, it was no wonder Julian had a nice garden in his back yard where he grew numerous flowers which I feel sure Allyne picked freely from to use in the arrangements for her garden club meetings.  At one contest Allyne won first prize with a classic arrangement using a statue of a Franciscan monk and Magnolia leaves.

          Many of Allyne & Julian’s friends and neighbors were always the recipients of the many homemade baked goods which came from the Brown kitchen.  Most prized especially were those delicious Parker House rolls and coconut cakes. It is still a mystery how, given with the pace Allyne went, she was able to make three meals a day plus cook other things, play bridge, read, teach school, create flower arrangements and sew, along with keeping a freezer of home-made ice cream at the ready on hot summer evenings.

When Julian died on December 18, 2000, he left a wonderful legacy for his family which Allyne and her children carried on until her death on May 31st.

          Monroe was a much richer community having Allyne and Julian Brown as citizens.  Judy, Sally, Jule’s wife Jeanne, the grandchildren and great grandchildren have a beautiful legacy of love and history to sustain them now and for the future.