This obituary originally appeared on O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home.

Mary E. (McCrohan) Brown of Newport, RI and Boxford, MA, wife of the late William W. Brown, passed away on December 18, 2019 at the age of 82 as the result of complications due to kidney disease. She is survived by her sons, Christopher and his wife, Andrea Diaz, of Natick, MA, and Timothy and his wife, Christine, of Sandwich, MA. She will be lovingly remembered by her four grandchildren, Hunter, Riley, Emilia, and Lucas. Mary was predeceased by her younger brother, Eugene McCrohan, who was never far from her thoughts since his death in 1958.

Born in Newport on August 21, 1937, Mary was the daughter of James A. and Elizabeth T. (O’Sullivan) McCrohan. She graduated from St. Catherine’s Academy in 1955 and is believed to be the first woman from Newport admitted to Boston College. While a student in BC’s School of Education, she met her future husband, Bill, at a Halloween party. The couple graduated in 1959 and were wed a year later at St. Mary’s Church.

As a young teacher, Mary worked in New London, Connecticut before deciding to put her career as a teacher on hold to raise a family. Despite this decision, she approached her role as a mother with the same vigor, creativity, and high standards that are characteristic of all exceptional teachers. In addition, Mary was an active member of the League of Women Voters during the family’s time living in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Chagrin Falls, Ohio. She was also an accomplished craftswoman whose work was shown and sold in Chagrin Falls and throughout New England. In the 1980s, Mary returned to teaching, most notably as a reading specialist in the school systems of Lynnfield, Georgetown, and Ipswich, Massachusetts. She adored her students and always strived to instill a love of words and reading in those children with whom she worked.

After her mother’s passing in 1993, Mary and Bill opened a bed and breakfast called Newport Rose Cottage in her childhood home on Division Street. While running this business for more than 25 years, Mary enjoyed playing hostess and relished the chance to get to know the many guests who stayed with them repeatedly over the years.

When not busy with the bed and breakfast, Mary could be found browsing through the many shops in Newport and enjoying her time at Hazard’s Beach where she and Bill were longtime members. Her charisma, unrelenting wit, and many idiosyncrasies made her a memorable character for all whose paths she crossed, and she will be sincerely missed by those who knew and loved her.

Visiting hours will be held Friday, December 27 from 4-6 pm at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Saturday, December 28 at St. Mary’s Church, Newport at 10:00 a.m. Burial St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Ln, Middletown. A reception will follow at the LaForge Casino Restaurant, Newport. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Mary’s life.


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