Charlene Rae Bialk Brown Waller
After a life well lived, our mom, “Rae” took the train to heaven to join her Aussie husband, John. Mom loved her family and friends more than anything, even more than her love for books, Diet Coke and slot machines. She looked forward to her trips to Amsterdam to see my brother Scot and his husband Pilo, whom which she considered a second son. She delighted in her role as Grammie to her 3 grandchildren; Alexa, Aaron and Drew and loved the weekends that she cared for them when they were little. But more than anything, she cherished her role as “Gigi” to her beloved great grandson, Anthony. He returned the sentiment and enjoyed visiting his “Gigi” at her house where she would listen with endless patience as he explained to her how to play the video game “Mindcraft”. Mom always considered herself blessed to have so many great friends. She loved her girl’s nights out on Wednesday, having breakfast with her friends the “girls” on Saturday and going to Baker’s dozen with her friends and family after church on Sunday.
Mom was born and raised in Chicago, and at her mother’s request, trained to be a beautician so that she could do her mom’s friends hair. Most weekends of our childhood, mom could be found doing “perms” for friends in our kitchen. In 1964 mom met and fell in love with a navy seaman named Donald Brown (our dad) and that was the beginning of her journey to Plainfield. As a navy wife, mom mastered the skill of raising us on pennies, mostly by making comfort food and yummy casseroles. Later after remarrying, and despite us knowing she could cook very well, she would proclaim to her husband John, that she “didn’t cook” and that was that. During the last move to Plainfield, CT, she stated “that’s it, no more moves” and so there we stayed on Black Hill and in the town she had grown to love. For over 30 years, she worked for local banks, developing many friends and teaching grateful customers how to balance a checkbook and patiently listen to them bemoan, “but I thought I had more money in that account”. She finally “retired” in 2008. But that just meant she switched from banking to doing what she truly loved full time, helping her family, friends and devoting her time to volunteering in the community. Project Pin, and Prudence Crandal Museum were just a couple of her volunteering gigs. She loved to garden and took pride in making the gardens at St. John’s beautiful. Mom was talented floral designer, and volunteered her skills to design the Church floral arrangements. She excelled at needle arts and could croche’ a full-sized blanket in just a week or two, depending on how many breaks she took to read her latest mystery novel. Having suffered 9 concussions throughout her life, and not wanting us to suffer the same, mom created “the concussion hat”, which was an extremely thick (and funny looking crochet hat) that she wouldn’t wear herself, but insisted we wear to avoid concussions. Mom was an avid reader and enjoyed sharing that love with others by teaching kids to read through mentoring and literacy programs.
Mom joins her beloved Aussie spouse, John Waller in heaven. Leaving behind a family blessed with wonderful memories of her life. Including, my brother, Scot Keary Brown- Pilkes and husband Pilo Pilkes (Amsterdam Holland,) me , Lisa Dawn Brown-Laskarzewski and my husband Robert (Lebanon, CT) her beloved grandchildren Alexa LaPorte(Norwich, CT), Aaron LaPorte and his wife Carlee LaPorte (Niantic, CT) and Drew Campo and his wife Angelina(Sacramento, Ca). Mom also leaves behind her cherished great grandson, Anthony Brown (Lebanon, CT), her sister Marlene Cole in Washington State and her 4 stepsons David, Mark, Robert and Bernard and their families in Australia. No words can express how much she will be missed by all. Our sincere gratitude and thanks to everyone that made her last days comfortable and peaceful, including her friends, the nurses and staff at Pierce Memorial Baptist home, Backus Critical Care Unit, and the A4 Unit.
If you would like to donate in her memory, please do so to Alzheimer’s society. A service will be held 1 PM Thursday, March 30, 20223 at the Westfield Church, 210 Main Street, Danielson, CT. The Shaw-Majercik Funeral Home, 48 School Street, Webster, MA has been entrusted with her arrangements. A guest book is available at www.shaw-majercik.com where you may post a condolence or light a candle.
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