Sincerest apologies for this belated announcement regarding the sudden and unexpected passing of Kathryn Rene Brown Gilbraith on Feb. 24, 2019, in El Paso, Texas.
Kathy (Kat) was born June 7, 1952, to parents Harvey and Shirley Youso Brown in International Falls, Minn., where she grew up. She was a 1970 graduate from Falls Senior High School.
She was preceded in death by both her paternal and maternal grandparents, Bruce and Opal Brown and Frank Sr. and Mary Youso, respectively. She was also preceded in death by her father, Harvey Brown in 2008; and her mother, Shirley Youso Brown in 2018.
She is survived by her husband, Leon Gilbraith; one brother, Michael (Cindy) Brown of Blackduck, Minn.; two sons, Aaron Nicholas Pederson and Samuel Wade Joza, both from Granite Falls, Wash.; and one daughter, Sarah Jane Joza Parrish of Darrington, Wash.
Survivors also include 10 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews from both the Brown and Youso families.
Kathy also had two very special friends in her life. Her cousin, Marilyn Kroeger Daniels of Marysville, Wash., and her childhood friend and classmate, Ruth Fehrman Alberts of Fort Frances, Ontario, and they all worked hard at maintaining their friendships throughout the years with hundreds of phone calls, texts and many tearful reunions. She is sadly missed by these dear friends as well as anyone fortunate enough to have known her.
After graduation she lived in International Falls for a time before moving to the Brown family homestead northeast of Blackduck, where she followed in the footsteps of her grandma Opal and became a true modern day pioneer, as mother and homemaker. Even birthing her second child on that farm unattended by any medical professionals, only by her mother Shirley.
Unusual as it may seem she truly enjoyed the many hours spent on a tractor plowing and discing the fields for her father, as it afforded her plenty of time to meditate. As she used to say, “I’ve solved many of the worlds problems, they just don’t know it yet.” It also it gave her a chance to commune with nature, the smell of the freshly turned soil, and the occasional glimpse of wildlife.
In 1980 she and mother Shirley moved the family to Everett, Wash., and soon after, started working in the recorders office in the Snohomish County Courthouse.
In 1986 Kathy expressed her deep love for God by dedicating her life to do His will and symbolized her dedication by water baptism at a convention held by Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash.
Upon marrying Leon on Dec. 24, 2000, they cashed in on her years of experience operating farm machinery and together they hit the open road as “tag team” drivers of semi tractor/trailer rigs. After about 10 years of crisscrossing the country, north and south and east and west, they retired and settled in Alamogordo, N.M.
Kathy was never shy when it came to voicing her opinions or offering constructive criticism but it was always tempered with love and kindness, and she was always ready to share her faith and love of life to any hearing ear.
The only thing bigger than her heart was her contagious laugh that still rings in our ears. Perhaps because she was so approachable, young people felt they could openly confide in her. She was always quick to champion the underdog, the less fortunate that was struggling to find themselves and she made a big difference in their lives. She often said, “I only gave birth to three children but to the many children I have befriended, I became like their second mother.” Often lovingly referring to them as her “little strays.”
In the fall of 2018 she moved to El Paso, Texas, to be closer to her aging mother who was living in a nursing home. After a few months, Shirley passed away in December of 2018. Just a few short months later, Kathy also passed away, succumbing to a bacterial infection in the bloodstream known as MRSA.
Kathy’s family wishes to thank all her friends for the warm and loving condolences and in lieu of cards, Kathy’s fondest thoughts to each of us is: love and cherish your partners, your children and grandchildren. Shower them with praise and smother them with hugs and kisses everyday. Make happy memories,and work hard at incorporating the fruitage of God’s Holy Spirit in your lives as recorded at Galatians 5:22,23.
Due to the lapse of time since her death, the family also asks that each of us celebrate Kathy’s life with our own special thoughts and cherished memories while we wait to be reunited with her in the grand resurrection to life on a paradise earth.