Charlotte Rush Brown, 100

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Four months shy of her 101st birthday, Charlotte Rush Brown MD died peacefully at home in Providence, RI on February 4, 2021.

Charlotte Rush Brown.

Charlotte was born June 11, 1920 in Pittsburgh, PA to Ralph and Kit Rush. Notably in her childhood she and her sister spent a year as students in a French convent while their father convalesced in England with their mother. In 1938 Charlotte drove west to Stanford University in her father’s new Packard convertible car with a friend, unchaperoned. She graduated from Stanford in 1942 and then Cornell University Medical School in 1945 where she was one of only two women in her class. While at Cornell, Charlotte met and married David Brown MD, her loving husband of 74 years. Shortly after finishing residencies they moved to New Canaan where they lived for the next 64 years until their move to Providence.

While raising four children Charlotte ran a lively pediatric practice from an office in her home, served as Director of Health for New Canaan and Wilton, and taught Pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital on the faculty of New York University Medical College. She and David, frequently with their children, volunteered their medical services in Haiti, and numerous countries in Africa, and the Mideast. Charlotte was a contributing and often founding member of many community organizations. Her influence is still recognized throughout Fairfield County in substance abuse prevention, housing for the elderly, fluoridation, HIV/AIDS, school health, and much more. She was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan and served on Mission Boards for the National Presbyterian Church.

Charlotte saw the best in everyone and opened her heart to people wherever she was. She never hesitated to speak up for the powerless and less fortunate and she held fiercely to a vision for a more peaceful and just world. Charlotte was always game for the next adventure. She loved to speak French, travel the world, figure skate, kayak, bicycle, sail, sculpt, host wonderful parties, and tell stories. Remembered for her boldness, generosity, compassion, quick wit, candor, fun, and boundless energy Charlotte will be deeply missed by her friends and family.

Charlotte is survived by her daughters Katherine Brown of Providence, RI and Anne Brown of Danielson, CT, her son Rush Brown and daughter-in-law Allison Brown of Portland, ME, and grandchildren Sydney, Sarah and Tim and great-grandchildren Ben and Maya of Glasgow Scotland.

A celebration of Charlotte’s life will be held later this year at the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan. Donations may be sent to American Near East Refugee Aid ANERA ( or 1111 14th St. NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20005) and the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan ( or 178 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT 06840).

[Note: This obituary appeared on]

11 thoughts on “Charlotte Rush Brown, 100

  1. Very fond memories of growing up with Brown’s. Wonderful couple. Both long humanitarian lives. My parents Mr & Mrs Theodore Allen Dyke & maternal grandmother Rosiland Van derveer Wendell used both as their doctors. Their children were friends peers. Grateful to have known them personally.

  2. Charlotte gave significantly to the Town of New Canaan. I knew her best as a founding member and board member of the Schoolhouse Apartments where she was proactive until moving to Rhode Island.

    One of our board members responded to her passing saying she was sure that the Angels carried her straight to heaven.

    She was an Angel to many wherever she was. God Bless Charlotte.

  3. Charlotte Brown was a great lady, was a privilege to have known her. She was very well educated, served as the Town Medical Director and always spoke her mind.

  4. Ah, sweet Charlotte….what a full, extraordinary and meaningful life. Oh how the world has benefitted from her deep caring, intellectual pursuits, and fierce commitment to leaving each day a better place than she awoke to. All of us who work on “senior” and other community issues certainly have benefitted from her sage advice based on years of experience; I feel blessed to have had her wise guidance and counsel. May the energy of her devotion to our community serve as example
    for us all and fuel our own energies for contributions to New Canaan and the world. RIP my dear friend.

  5. Charlotte and David Brown hosted for months New Canaan public school intern teachers from Norfolk, Virginia in the Norfolk State Teachers College “New Canaan Experiment” which began in the late 1960s. This was an effort for Norfolk’s black student-teachers to see New Canaan, and for New Canaan students to see blacks as teachers. Charlotte and David jumped into the program in its first year. The program continued for ten years, and Charlotte and David kept up with those teachers, visiting them and hosting them for the rest of their lives.

  6. Such a wonderful person. A pediatrician to inspire both the girls and the boys who were her patients. And what a fine partnership she formed with David Brown. Like everyone who knew them, they were wonderful friends and civic examples for our family,
    Margot Eberman de Ferranti

  7. I came to know Charlotte in the late 70s when I moved here after 20 years in South America. She was an extraordinary woman
    , I don’t need to list her many gifts and accomplishments but I must say that she had a way of welcoming and making one feel part of New Canaan immediately. I hated to see her move to Rhode Island.

  8. Charlotte and David were great friends of my parents, Ned and Nancy Walworth, and I remember seeing David as a patient. I have vivid memories of Charlotte promoting fluoridation of the New Canaan water supply in the 1950’s. Maybe they had something to do with my eventual application to medical school. My wife, also a doctor, and I can only hope to contribute half to our community in Maine as much as the Doctors Brown contributed to New Canaan and the world as a whole.

  9. Charlotte and David Brown epitomized the saying “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” They have left an extraordinary legacy from their personal relationships, professional service, civic mindedness, and the very simple zeal with which they lived life. The stories shared say it all. Every member of the New Canaan community, whether they realize it or not, is so much richer for having had the Brown’s among us for so many years. A wonderful couple and lives so well lived. RIP Charlotte.

  10. Dr. Brown was my pediatrician more years ago than I care to enumerate. But it was several decades into my adulthood that I came to appreciate what a truly special person she was. It wasn’t simply that twinkle in her eyes that suggested something mischievous, nor was it her subtle, mordant sense of humor. Endearing as those traits were, what I valued most about her was that she was a genuinely caring person. Unlike many doctors I’ve known, she was a good listener, and in the most casual conversations thought to ask probing questions. Moreover, long after she and husband David retired, the Drs. Brown continued to make house calls, visiting even the most casual friends while the latter were ill, including when they were hospitalized. Not so much to prescribe remedies, although both were always ready to voice an opinion. No, such visits were more a reflection of their deep commitment to friendship and their spirit of community. Doctors that live this brand of humanism have, alas, gone the way of dear Charlotte.

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