Carolyn Clarke Brown, 73, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts on March 15 (the “Ides of March”), 1946 and died in Rockport, Maine on Oct. 26, 2019. Her parents were Bertram W. Clarke and Katherine Knight Clarke.
At age 16, Carolyn was thrown from a horse and sustained a severe concussion. For two weeks, she hovered on the threshold of death and was not expected to survive. However, she recovered and came to regard all the subsequent years of her life as “extra years.” Those who knew and loved her would argue that there were not enough “extra years.”
Carolyn attended high school initially in the public school system in Williamsburg, Mass. before enrolling in the Northampton School for Girls (now the Williston Northampton School), from which she graduated in 1964. She attended the University of Maine at Orono, earning a B.A. in 1968 and an MLS in 1974. One unique feature of Carolyn’s life is that she had a single job interview in 1968, which launched a 46-year career as an academic librarian at the University of Southern Maine (USM) in Portland. She left the University in 2014 as head of acquisitions and serials services in the library.
She married William B. Hughes in 1982; he died in 1992. She began a long-term relationship with Scott W. Brown in the mid-1990s; they married in 2014. Their wedding has the distinction of (probably) being the only one to have ever taken place at the USM library. Carolyn and Scott did everything together, ranging from activities that were mundane (going to the store or post office) to strenuous (hiking, building walking trails, renovating a barn) to just plain fun (cooking, road trips in their red antique Corvette convertible).
Carolyn was an exceptionally warm, kind, friendly, and generous person who was always willing to pitch in and help. Many describe her as one of the nicest people they had ever met. She loved cooking, as evidenced by her 500-plus cookbook collection. She especially loved cats, and owned many over the years. She loved them all, but her favorite was a one-eyed stray female from a shelter that Scott named MQ (for Monocular Quadruped). MQ was smart, loving, and feisty, just like her owner.
Carolyn’s maternal ancestors were centered in New York and New Jersey, and tended to be educated professionals. In contrast, her paternal ancestors were DownEasters from Machiasport, Maine and they went to sea. Her forebears include numerous sea captains, mariners, and sailors of ships both large and small. Her father and an uncle were crew members on Howard Hughes’ yacht “The Southern Cross” in the 1930s. Another uncle served on Atlantic convoy ships in World War II. Carolyn and Scott have spent many enjoyable times at the family salt water farm in Machiasport, built by a sea captain ancestor in 1841. One particularly interesting marine artifact at the farm is the log book of a great-grandfather who operated the schooner “Saarbruck” in the 1870s. The “Saarbruck” shipped cargo between Machiasport, New York, and Rio de Janeiro.
Carolyn is survived by her husband, Scott of Union and Machiasport; adopted stepchildren, Donna L. Boyle of South Portland and William D. Hughes of Westbrook along with their families; and a cousin, Dawn Woodbrey of Orono and her family. A life-long friend was Judy Carloni of Shapleigh and Englewood, Fla., who Carolyn met when they were both age 3; they remained friends for the next 70 years.
According to her wishes, Carolyn will be buried in the East Union, Maine cemetery alongside Scott’s relatives. A gathering of friends and family to celebrate her life will be held in both Union and Machiasport in the spring.
Carolyn would wish that any donations made should be directed to a local animal shelter, especially to provide support for stray cats.