May 10, 1912 - Jan. 20, 2012
Laura Brown, 99, of Corvallis died peacefully Friday at her home.
She was born to William and Tennessee McDowell Carpenter in Milton, Okla. When Laura was 10 years old, her mother died of typhoid fever, leaving Laura's father with five children. Laura became an accomplished homemaker on a primitive homestead.
When Laura was a teenager, she left home to join an older sister and new brother-in-law in Seminole, Okla., where the town was booming with new oil wells. That was where Laura got acquainted with her future husband, Herbert Brown.
She worked in a café, and Herbert worked the oil fields. They could not miss work and risk losing precious jobs, so they married Jan. 17, 1930, over a weekend, and went back to work Monday.
The Dust Bowl drought and the Depression hit both their families, and they returned to McCurtain, Okla., to help maintain family farms doomed by lack of water and markets for products. A few years later, when the crops dried up and blew away, they sold everything and headed west with a new Ford pickup and an 18-month-old toddler.
They worked in the fields, and settled on Kiger Island in Corvallis, where they raised vegetables for the fresh market. World War II afforded increased markets for farm products, and Laura and Herbert bought a large farm on Stahlbush Island, where they farmed until retirement in 1975. Then they moved to a small farm on Peoria Road, where Laura helped until the present with a cherry orchard and Christmas trees.
As a farm owner and operator, Laura managed crews of workers, ran any equipment needed, and canned and preserved garden produce after hours. She was active in the Extension Service programs offered for farmers, and did workshops for farm women for food preservation, and cooking and sewing for the family.
She was active in 4-H, leading many clubs and helping young folks with projects. Laura helped establish a hot lunch program at one-room Dixie School. She was a classic homemaker with many skills, including quilting many quilts for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Laura had an adventurous spirit and loved to travel. After retirement, she enjoyed Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Europe, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, and many cruises in the Caribbean, among frequent trips throughout the United States.
Laura was preceded in death by her husband, Herbert; son Monty Hugh; and all her siblings, Trilba Carter, Olga Brown, Eula Carpenter, Swin Carpenter and Herbert Carpenter.
Laura is survived by daughter Barbara Ellis; granddaughters Dee Dee Ellis and husband Ray Ballard, and Monica Brown; grandsons Monty Hugh Jr., and Mark Ellis and wife Nancy; and three great-grandchildren, Austin, Missy and Ryan Ellis.
A special thank-you goes to the many caregivers who cared for her during her declining years, and to the Evergreen Hospice staff.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to Samaritan Evergreen Hospice, 1046 Sixth Ave. S.W., Albany, OR 97321.
A service for Laura will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at First Baptist Church, Northwest Ninth Street and Monroe Avenue, Corvallis. A private interment will be held later at Crystal Lake Cemetery.
McHenry Funeral Home is handling arrangements.