Jerry Brown of Edmond, Oklahoma, has a lifelong legacy of service to her country, service to her family and service to enhancing the education of Oklahoma’s youth. Born in 1921 to Alymer Hightown Meek and Annie Rennie Colbert-Meek, she grew up around family, including her Chickasaw grandparents in Purcell.
Education was important in her home, emphasized by her Chickasaw mother, who had attended Bloomfield Academy as a young girl. Mrs. Brown attended Classen High School in Oklahoma City, graduating in 1939. She played field hockey and volleyball and contributed to the school’s Latin newspaper.
When she was 17, Mrs. Brown enrolled at Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) to study education. To pay her way through school, she took on several jobs, including in the dining hall, as a proctor at Murray Hall and tutoring a student in Latin.
Mrs. Brown was also a member of the Aggie Pep Squad and an “Aggiette” cheerleader her senior year. She graduated in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in education.
Two months after earning a college degree, at the height of World War II, Mrs. Brown felt a call to duty and enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She decided to join to keep her brother-in-law, who was a father, from having to go fight.
Mrs. Brown was selected for a top-secret mission because she took a photography class in college, and was ultimately assigned to the Pentagon where her duties involved developing and printing photos from the bombers. She was on duty the day the U.S. B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan and was one of the first people to witness the bomb’s devastation.
Mrs. Brown was discharged from the Army the day after Thanksgiving 1945. She returned to Edmond, Oklahoma, where she spent the next few years working part-time as a teacher.
When her children were ages 15 and 11, she returned to school to earn a master’s degree. She took a job teaching sixth grade, a position she would keep until 1973. Mrs. Brown continued to substitute teach until she was 90 years of age.
Recently, Mrs. Brown has devoted her time volunteering at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Edmond, Oklahoma. She is an active member of the OU Medical Center Edmond Volunteer Auxiliary. She served as president of the organization in 2010 and was named Volunteer of the Year in 2012.
Jerry Brown has spent her 96 years as a patriot, educator, mentor and volunteer.