Mary Ben (Boswell) Brown

August 7, 1923 ~ August 11, 2015 (age 92)

August 7, 1923 – August 11 , 2015

Mary Ben Boswell Brown of Penfield, Ga. passed away Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at her residence.  Mary Ben was the first of two children born to Robert McWhorter and Agnes Boswell.  She spent her young years between the family’s homes in Charleston, South Carolina and Penfield, Georgia.  Following the accidental death of her father, Mary Ben moved with her mother and younger brother, Robert M. Boswell, Jr. to Thomson, Georgia where she attended school and graduated from Thomson High School. She temporarily left Thomson in order to attend college at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia and Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Returning to Thomson from college, she began work but soon met and married Heyward Gregg Brown, a young veterinarian who had recently joined a Thomson area veterinary practice. While living and working in Thomson they would have their only child, Heyward Gregg Brown, Jr. Dr. Brown was called to active duty in the United States Army and would remain in the service to his country for over thirty years. The very early years of her husband’s service required Mary Ben to remain in Penfield. With time available and her love for education, she was soon teaching kindergarten at the Methodist Church in Greensboro. Within a few years Mrs. Brown would depart Penfield to accompany then Captain Brown on various military assignments in East Africa, The Near East, The Far East, and Europe. Included were assignments in the United States with an extended tour of duty in Washington, D.C. where again she found time for teaching. As time permitted, they would periodically return to Penfield where they purchased and restored their antebellum home, Yesteryears. Colonel Brown retired from active duty in 1982 and they returned to Penfield prepared to enjoy retirement.  She was a member of the Penfield Presbyterian Church.  

Colonel Brown passed away unexpectedly in early 1984.  Mary Ben remained in their home becoming active in local activities involving the Greene County Historical Society and the establishment of the Greene County Library. Her knowledge of the history of Penfield and of the many families who comprised the community earned her the unofficial title “Mayor of Penfield” and those seeking local history would often call upon her for information. She possessed an enthusiastic love for animals and could often be found out and about with her pets. She went on to fully restore and move into her Boswell family’s Penfield home. Upon occupying the home she named it Goodly Heritage; taken from the passage found in the Book of Psalms 16:6. It is in this house where she was born that she peacefully departed this life after 92 years.

An insight into Mary Ben’s view on the purpose of her life may be gleaned from the small item she placed near the door in each of the homes she occupied. It is a small-framed embroidery containing the words written by poet Sam Walter Foss. It simply reads:  Lord, Let Me Live By The Side Of The Road And Be A Friend To Man.

Survivors include her only son, Heyward Gregg “Woody” Brown, Jr. and his wife Agnes of Penfield, GA; grandchildren, Beth Brown Marlow and husband Donald E. Marlow of Essex, Md., Rebecca Lee Law and husband Maj. Nicholas B. Law, USMC of Norfolk, Va., Holly Anne Brown of Vinnings, Ga.; great grandchildren, Gregg Lewis Marlow, Collin  Donald Marlow, and Reagan Catherine Marlow all of Essex, Md. and Candler Grace Law, Emory Anne Law, and Willoughby Reese Law all of Norfolk, Va., and a number of other relatives, two long term caregivers sent to her by the Lord, and many good friends.  She was preceded in death by her brother, Robert McWhorter Boswell, Jr. of Thomson, Ga.

Graveside Services will be held on Saturday, August 15, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at Penfield Cemetery,  1211 Cemetery Road, Penfield, GA 30669 with Rev. Reggie Haslett officiating. The family requests that any memorials be made to the charity of your choice. The family will receive friends Friday night from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at McCommons Funeral Home.  McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at to sign the online guest register.


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