NEWTON, Kan (Mennonite Mission Network) - Sophie L. Brown, a life-long teacher who served 40 years as a mission worker in Taiwan, died September 4, 2010, at her home in North Newton, Kan. She was 86 years old.
Sophie L. (Schmidt) Brown was born April 19, 1924, in Goessel to Simon F. and Margaret (Unruh) Schmidt. She graduated from Goessel (Kan.) High School and Bethel (North Newton, Kan. ) College, and later continued her education at Arizona State University and Wichita (Kan.) State University, specializing in counseling and special education.
In 1948 Schmidt married Roland P. Brown and in the early 1950s the couple traveled to Taiwan with the Commission on Overseas Mission, a Mennonite Mission Network predecessor agency. For the next 40 years the Browns helped develop the ministries of the Mennonite Christian Hospital in the city of Hualien. In addition to serving at the hospital and raising their three children, Sophie Brown found time to counsel unwed mothers and was instrumental in starting the Hualien Christian School. She also worked for nearly 10 years at the New Dawn Developmental Center, a school for developmentally challenged children in Hualien.
“Sophie is fondly remembered for her fun-loving, optimistic nature and her gracious hospitality to many,” said Sheldon Sawatzky, a former colleague in Taiwan under COM.
Roland and Sophie Brown retired from mission service and returned to the United States in 1990. After a long and rewarding career overseas, Sophie Brown looked forward to spending more time with her family and friends. She and her husband returned to Taiwan for one last mission term from 1993 to 1995.
Sophie Brown is survived by her husband of 62 years, Dr. Roland P. Brown of North Newton; two sons, Clifford of Tulsa and G. Keith of Taipei, Taiwan; a daughter, Carol Ann Fynan of Montgomery, Ala.; a brother, Randolph Schmidt of Goessel; her sister, Alda M. Wedel of Hesston, Kan.; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Sophie was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Lester F. Schmidt.