Mary Elizabeth Baker was born on July 14th 1926 in Friendswood, TX. Her parents were James Thistlethwaite Baker and Hazel Moore Baker, of Friendswood, an intentional Quaker farming community in southern TX (founded in 1898). Mary Baker and Cecil Brown met as children and attended Friendswood Friends Meeting (now Friendswood Friends Church). She had one brother.
During her childhood Mary attended public school in Friendswood and participated in public speaking events at Friendswood Academy (the community hall and Meeting House for the Friendswood community).
She went to college at Friends University in Wichita Kansas, where she majored in drama. She was active in a number of college activities, she was particularly proud of her involvement in raising money for relief after WWII, for the town of Sarkeresztes, Hungary.
After getting a Bachelors degree at Friends University she went on to study speech therapy and language development at the Institute of Logopedics and at Houston University.
In 1948 she and Cecil Brown were married at Friendswood. They have three children Stuart, Steve and Teresa. Mary and Cecil were active supporters of education, starting the first Montessori school in Houston and after teaching her children to read Mary worked at a private school teaching reading.
Mary struggled with debilitating allergies for a number of years, and the Brown’s moved to a dryer climate in Las Cruces in 1981.
Mary was excited to be in a small unprogrammed Friends Meeting and provided a strong supportive center for the young Meeting. The Meeting met for a number of years on property that she and Cecil bought.
She was a strong supporter of social justice concerns, supporting the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center and many Quaker organizations.
Mary was very concerned about equality, including equality in communications. She and Cecil developed a system called ‘timer kits’ to help small groups have conversations where time was shared equally. She felt that it was most important for people to say what was inside of them. She wanted to get to know people really well.
Mary valued the good in each individual. She was known to often have lunch out with new attenders in the Meeting. She was a loving presence, nurturing the children in first day school.
Mary taught by example. Her kindness, generosity and warmth meant much to the Meeting, and those of us whose children grew up knowing her are especially grateful.