Mary Bunella Collins Brown, age 73, of Bristol, TN joined her parents and her brother to be with the Lord on July 16, 2016 after a lengthy illness. She was born on November 11, 1942 at Kings Mountain Memorial Hospital in Bristol, Virginia to the late Reverend Clyde E. Collins Sr. and Mrs. Mary Cynthia Hendricks Collins.
She graduated high school from John F. Slater on June 2, 1959. On May 26, 1963, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in French from Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State University’s School of Arts and Sciences in Nashville, TN. While attending Tennessee State A & I she was a member of the Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society. She received her Masters of Science in Special Education from The University of Kansas on October 14, 1974.
Being the daughter of a Methodist minister and an elementary school principal, her life was directed by God and set for her as she walked a Christian life educating so many people. Mary Brown was a faithful member of John Wesley United Methodist church for all of her life where she served in many roles. She graciously devoted herself to being a trustee of John Wesley UMC, was a certified lay speaker, a member of the United Methodist Woman, president of the Vashti Unit, and superintendent of the JWUMC Sunday School division where she also was a teacher.
Her teaching career began in Nashville, Tn where she student taught before beginning her career in Kansas City, Kansas where she taught for 19 years at Washington Heights High School. In 1982, she moved to Bristol, Tn where she completed the last 24 years of her teaching career at Tennessee High School as a French and English teacher before retiring from the Bristol Tennessee City School System. Due to her passion for changing the lives of students in her community, she came out of retirement in 2007 to serve on the Bristol Tennessee School Board at age 68. In 2011, she successfully won a second term on the Bristol Tennessee School Board leading a five candidate field. She retired from the school board in 2015. While elected to the board she served as Chair in 2012-13 and served as Vice Chair from 2008-2011. She received certificates of achievement from the Tennessee School Board Association for successful completion of the TSBA Boardsmanship programs I, II, and III.
She was member of many civic organizations that included being a member of the Bristol Tennessee Retired Teachers Association, Club Unique Civic Organization, and Jacobs Creek Job Corp Council.
She is survived by her devoted and loving husband of 28 years, John Richard Brown. She leaves to cherish her memory, a daughter, Mrs. Jenai L. Hayes (Millard Hayes III), one grandson, Millard Collin Hayes IV, several close cousins; and a host of friends. Special family and friends Gaynell McIver, Brenda Brooks, Matt Pippin, Gwen Ellis, Millie Saunders, Drucilla Hogan, and Dr. & Mrs. Douglas Green were by her side until she went to Heaven.
The family wishes to thank the many faithful friends and staff at Bristol Regional Medical Center who offered prayer, visits and support during this time of bereavement. In lieu of flowers Mary Brown would want to make sure students in her community continue to receive help as they are educated. Please send donations to Jenai Hayes PO BOX 40352, Nashville, TN 37204 or to the Slater Alumni Scholarship Committee, c/o Drucilla Hogans, PO Box 3552, Bristol, TN 37620.
The family will visit with relatives and friends from noon until 1:00 pm, Saturday, July 23, 2016 at John Wesley United Methodist Church, 311 Lee Street, Bristol, VA 24201. Services will immediately follow with Rev. Robert Kariuki Officiating. The Burial will be at Eastern Heights Presbyterian Church Cemetery, 431 Old Jonesboro Road, Bristol, Tennessee.