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1929 Ola 2023

Ola Mae Brown

October 21, 1929 — November 28, 2023


Ola Mae Gregson was the 7th child of 12 born to Hubert C and Hazel R (Barker) Gregson at their rural home in Randolph Co., NC.  She eloped to Conway, SC with Edward A Brown where they were married on August 22, 1950. Their marriage was long lasting, happy, and of benefit to both.

As a child Ola Mae loved to climb a tree with a book and an apple. Reading was important to her, and it filled many of her hours prior to marriage and family life. She attended Providence Friends Meeting and the school associated with that church but graduated from Randleman High. With a scholarship from Providence Church she attended Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. To pay for room and board she worked in the administration office and as manager of the dining hall. In 1950 Guilford didn’t allow married students to live in the dorms but, when they found out about Ola Mae’s elopement, the faculty voted to let her stay.  That was a true testament to her good nature and valuable qualities. However, fate had something else in mind as Ed joined the navy and Ola Mae followed him to Virgina. When Ed returned they started their family but, on Ed’s insistence, she returned to Guilford College. In 1953 Ola Mae graduated 13th out of a class of 92 and earned a BA degree with a major in English and minors in Education and Business.  A photo of the young family appeared in the Greensboro newspaper as it was so unusual for a married mother to graduate from college at that time.

In 1956 Ola Mae and Ed moved to Raleigh where Ola Mae became a teacher at one of the first day care schools in the city, Longview Methodist Day School. Shortly afterwards she was selected to be the 2nd director of the school.  In that position she used her creative and artistic abilities to create the newsletters that went out to parents. She had natural talents in design and art which gave her great satisfaction throughout her life.

As an empty nester, in February 1975 Ola Mae took a clerical job with Wake County, working in both the Social Services and Health Departments. She permanently retired in 1989 so she could experience Ed’s passion to travel. Ola Mae also pursued her passion with her sister, Ruth, to visit relatives and collect family history and photos. She slipped silently away on November 28, 2023 knowing she had led a blessed, productive, and good life.

She is survived by her two children; Steve (Lynn) Brown and Lynette (John) Hudspeth; a brother, Clayton (Rebecca) Gregson; a sister, Marie Shoe; in-laws, Annie Lou Gregson, Charles Fields, and Elvin Gregson; two grandchildren, Carly (Hank) Howie and Mitchell Brown; two great-grandchildren, Houston and Kathryn Howie.

The family is immensely thankful to the staff of Morningside of Raleigh for the care they provided Ed and Ola Mae in their last years and to St James United Methodist Church for their consistent visits to Morningside to bring flowers and cheer to our parents.

A private family graveside service will be held December 9, 2023.

Contributions can be made to:
St James United Methodist Church, PO Box 40100, Raleigh, NC 27629
Providence Friends Church, 2054 Providence Church Rd, Pleasant Garden, NC 27313
Or The Alzheimer’s Association at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ola Mae Brown, please visit our flower store.


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