in memoriam

Joann Golightly Brown ’48, P’79, P’82, G’21

headshot of Joann Golightly Brown, smiling, wearing a coral blouse and blue sweater

Photo: Gordon R. Wenzel

“Who’s got the pep? Who’s going to rate? What’s the best class? ’48!”

That energetic epigraph begins the first Class Reports column authored by Joann Golightly Brown ’48, published in the March 1950 issue of The Bucknell Alumnus, a forerunner to this publication. For the next 72 years, readers of this magazine would encounter that same boundless energy, upbeat irreverence and, above all, unwavering passion for Bucknell between the margins of the Class of 1948 column.

“Do you remember trudging through the snow to get to an early morning class like World Lit?” she asked readers in her Spring 2022 column. “Do students still ‘trudge’ like we did to an 8 a.m. class, or do they just Zoom in? Oh well, I digress …”

With deep regret, the staff of Bucknell Magazine reports that Brown’s last column is printed on P. 39 of this issue. She died on May 24 in Summit, N.J.

In addition to her tireless service as a class reporter, Brown attended every Reunion from her graduation until very recent years and regularly served on her class Reunion committee. At the 2018 Reunion, she received the Loyalty to Bucknell Award from the Bucknell Alumni Association.

She was also a regular attendee of the University’s annual Scholarship Day celebration. Brown helped establish a scholarship at Bucknell in honor of her late sister, Eleanor Golightly McChesney ’46, to support students pursuing majors in the physical and biological sciences. In 2011, Brown’s name was added to the scholarship.

Following her graduation, Brown worked for the Newark, N.J., office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where she met her husband, Jim P’79, P’82, G’21. She retired from the FBI in 1957, and with Jim established the James A. Brown Agency, an insurance agency in Roselle Park, N.J., where she was involved in every aspect of management other than sales.

Brown continued to work as the office’s manager and bookkeeper for a further 58 years, until the business was sold in 2017. Slowing down was not her nature.

Brown is survived by her children, Jeff Brown ’79 and Jill Brown Waters ’82, as well as grandchildren, including Jenny Waters ’21.