Clea Curtis Brown, 102, of St. David, AZ, was able to pass peacefully into the next life on Thursday, January 28, 2021. She was at her home with loved ones present when she passed of natural causes.
Clea, the daughter of Milton and Alice Hatch Curtis was born on the Curtis homestead, between St. David and Tombstone, on September 7, 1918. She was 2 months premature weighing only 2 1/2 lbs. at birth. Her parents placed her in a shoebox and put her on the oven door to keep her warm. Onion poultices were put on her chest to keep her breathing. Seeing such a tiny baby, her father remarked “She’s nothing but a Dot.” Clea continued to be called “Dot” by family and friends throughout her life. The doctor who delivered her, came the following day with a signed death certificate, but was surprised to see she was still living. The family consisted of an older sister, Elnor, Clea, and a younger brother, Dowel.
Clea graduated from St. David High School in 1937. At that time, she left home and attended school at Gila Academy, now known as Eastern Arizona College. The summer before she attended ASU, she returned to Benson and worked at her Uncle Dick Heber’s café. This is where she met her future husband, Chester Brown. They corresponded for a while, then dated for about a year before being married on June 25, 1941 in the Mesa Arizona Temple. While Chester was in the Navy, during WWII, Clea stayed with her parents in St. David for the most part, but did spend some time living in Norman, OK with Chester and their first two sons until the war ended. The family then settled in Pomerene, AZ where they ran a dairy and four more children joined their family. They are the parents of five sons and one daughter.
Clea became a substitute teacher and worked in that capacity until age 78. She was always a faithful and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served as a Visiting Teacher, Primary President, Relief Society President, twice, taught Seminary and as a missionary along with her husband, both on the Stake level and as full-time missionaries in the Florida Keys. Clea became interested in Indexing through the Family Search Program and enjoyed doing so. She was in her 80’s when computers became essential for the indexing she loved so much. She bought a computer, learned how to use it and spent the next 20 plus years continuing to serve. She loved watching the count grow each day as she worked. Clea may have set a personal record on her last day of Indexing, which was less than a week before she passed, raising her accumulated computer count to 251,653 names. This number does not account for those she did manually before switching to a computer.
Clea inherited her father’s collection of prehistoric artifacts along with histories of Dr. Gidley’s work, the excavations and eventual placement of some mastodons and glyptodonts in museums in New York and Washington DC. Clea was often called on to share her information and a sample of her collection to school classes. In her later years she continued to give speeches before various audiences presenting these items and talking about local history right to the end. Her collection has now been donated to the Benson Museum.
Clea was preceded in death by her husband Chester Lawrence Brown, three precious daughters-in-law: Susan, Sheryl, and Jeanine. her parents, both of her siblings, and two grandsons. She is survived by her six children: Spencer (Carmen); James (Terry); Curtis (Meredith); Marial Mortensen (Dale); Mark (Emalene); and Randall (Judy); 44 grandchildren and 128 great-grandchildren.
Clea has often been referred to as an example of kindness, optimism, and endurance. She was willing to try new things and was especially good a Rummikub. She loved watching U of A sports, the Kentucky Derby and the Tucson Parade each year on television.
Services will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Saint David Stake Center in Benson, AZ on Saturday, February 6, 2021. Visitation will be at 1:30 p.m. with funeral services beginning at 2:30 p.m. These services will also be available virtually through Zoom. Interment will follow at the Pomerene Cemetery.
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/8415700142?pwd=NWVtdHVJWWZvU3laR2hJMDhUbnFaQT09
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