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 Cathy Ann Brown, age 69, of Grand Rapids, passed away Friday, August 19, 2016 at her home.  The daughter of Earl T. & Catherine A. (Perrin) Glocheski, she was born on October 5, 1946 and worked as an artist and clerk with Service Reproduction in Grand Rapids.  She was preceded in death by her parents; and her husband, Robert Lee Brown.  Surviving are a daughter, Nicolette Sonntag; two grandsons, Antonio and Aidan Sonntag, all of Skokie, Illinois; and many other dear family and friends.  Memorial services will be held at a later date. 

Above are the facts about my mother’s life but not about her heart and soul.  Below is something that may help you know what Cathy Brown was really like from the eyes of her only child.

Mom, I looked through all of your poetry books the other night. All of the greats you loved and shared with me: Emily Dickenson, e.e. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Tennyson, Walt Whitman, Robert Browning, Longfellow.

I searched and searched and could not find the perfect, right, loving and lovely poem that would express everything that you are to all of us who love you and to me. I finally closed all the poetry books and knew that even the greatest poets in the history of the world could never express in words the love that I have for you and what you mean to me.

If they could not come up with the perfect words how can I? I guess only in the simplest way possible.

What I can say is that:

• You were the most intelligent and spiritual person that I have ever met. 
• You taught me that I could find in books all the comfort, love, adventures and mysteries of life.
• Your strength and courage were limitless.
• I realized this week and told a friend that you were my Magnetic North.  That wherever you were I knew my way, where to go, and was never lost.
• Your love for the beauty in life was incredible. You expressed this in your lovely garden, your amazing paintings, your words, and your love.
• You had this incredible shoulder that loved ones and friends could lean on and feel your strength without judgment, and you provided us all with the deepest insight and comfort.
• Your ability to face some of the darkest things in life head on and with unflinching courage was infinite.  You were able to face trials with strength and spiritual greatness.  You endured hardships but you were never bitter, always seeing the love of God and the great purpose there was in life.
• You never gave up hope.  You never gave up trying.  You never gave up on those you loved even when they caused you pain and sorrow.
• Your incredible love for history is shown in the legacy of the family’s history in pictures, memories and stories.  You have left this knowledge of who we are as a family for all of us and for your grandchildren.
• Your incredible love for your grandchildren, Antonio and Aidan.  In Antonio and Aidan I see:
o Your incredible brilliant mind and your way of looking at things in ways that no one else could.
o Your deep appreciation for nature and the environment.  You’re helping of animals of all kinds from your horse, Dr. Banner, to wales, seals, dolphins, and wolves – all of it.
o Your incredible vision of fairness and love for justice and the treatment with respect and dignity of everyone.
o An unquenchable feistiness for life and all that it has to offer.

Remember when we raced our horses and I couldn’t stop my horse and almost ran Dad over?  He was so mad at us and yelled and we had too much fun. Who won the race?  I don’t even remember. It doesn’t and didn’t even matter.  We were laughing so hard. 

Remember when the rooster at the barn kept chasing me and scaring me.  He tried it for one last time when you were there in front of me and he charged at you in the air and you hit him with your riding crop at each charge.  After that that rooster didn’t go within a mile of me and never caused anyone any trouble.  I told Aidan and Antonio that the moral of that story was you never mess with Grandma Cathy when someone she loves is in danger of being hurt.

Remember Dark Banner and how you rescued him from an abusive owner and kept him for the rest of his very long life.  Dad never sold Dark Banner. He didn’t dare. He was the horse that dad had for the longest time of his life.

Remember the handsome horse trainer that came to Grand Rapids and you both fell in love and changed the world.

Remember the old house in Dundee that you fell in love with and Dad just knew he had to buy it for you.  The first night there it rained and Dad said rain was dripping down on his head while he was lying in bed but he loved you more than anything or anyone in the world and he wanted you to have your dreams fulfilled – leaking roof and all.

Remember all of those picture perfect and glorious holidays that we shared with Grandma and Grandpa. 

I will always remember and will always love you my wonderful, darling, amazing, and glorious Mom.

Mom, here is one poem that seemed almost right by Emily Dickenson:

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away —
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy —
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon —
The Dusk drew earlier in —
The Morning foreign shone —
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone —
And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.


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4 Condolences

  1. Barb Lutzke on August 22, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Cathy was a wonderful friend…I love her and I always will…she was a very special, kind and loving person…she loved her family, friends, gardening and painting…she will be missed in every way. A sad day.

  2. Russell poch on August 23, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    our thoughts are with you in your time of sorrow

  3. Dale Robart II, architect on August 24, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Dear Nicolette,
    I purchased prints from Cathy at Service for 10 years. What a sweet soul! I will miss her smiling face! Your tribute to your mom is beautiful,
    like her!

  4. Lisa Ahkeahbo on December 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm


    I stumbled upon this page as I was searching for another friend’s father’s obituary ~ what an odd yet beautiful “coincidence”.

    Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I read your beautiful writing about your beautiful Mom. I could almost personally hear you’re saying those words.

    I’m not sure if you’ll get this message ~ and I apologize for the fact that I couldn’t be there with you when she passed. But please know that I’m always right here whenever you need a friend.

    Sending lots of love to your Mom ~ she must be overjoyed now that she is reunited with your Dad. The two of them are shining their light upon you and your two boys ~ always.

    Much love,

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