Councilors recall couple’s contributions to the town of Burrillville following death of longtime clerk Brown

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BURRILLVILLE – Members of the Burrillville Town Council shared their memories of a couple that ran the town’s treasury department for more than three decades, following the recent death of former clerk Lucille Brown.

Brown, who died in rehab on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the age of 98 after a brief hospital stay, served as a bookkeeper at Burrillville Town Hall for 33 years.

Born in Springfield, Vt., Brown moved to Rhode Island with her family when her father began working as a shearer at the Stillwater Worsted Mill in Harrisville. She graduated from Burrillville High School and began her career as a bookkeeper at the Stillwater Worsted Mill office.

She was married to Carlton Brown following his return and recuperation from injuries received during World War II, according to her obituary.

“Unfortunately he was in the Invasion of Normandy…and lost his leg,” said Councilor Stephen Rawson. “They married in 1950 when he finally recovered from his severe injuries.”

Carlton served as the town treasurer in Burrillville, an elected position at the time. He would hold the position for more than three decades, running for his last five terms unopposed.

“Nobody ran against him,” noted Councilor Raymond Trinque.

Lucille, meanwhile, moved on from her job at the mill to take a position at Town Hall as bookkeeper to the treasurer’s office. The couple lived on Stewart Court in Harrisville, and Lucille was an organist at both Berean Baptist and First Universalist Church. She served as a Cub Scout leader and a Sunday school teacher, and was a member of the Eastern Star.

Both retired after 33 years in public service.

“The two of them put in over 60 years of service to the town of Burrillville together,” said Trinque.

Carlton died in 2004, and the Town Annex at 105 Harrisville Main St. is named after him.

Lucille was the last surviving spouse of a World War II veteran of the New England Chapter, Fourth Division Ivy League. According to her obituary, she attended the group’s bi-annual reunions prior to the Covid pandemic.

“She was one of the last bastions of that generation that I know of in town, especially the village of Harrisville,” said Rawson. “She was a lovely lady.”

Her service was held on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at Keene Brown Funeral Home in North Smithfield followed by burial in Slatersville Cemetery.

“Lucille almost always had a story to tell, a smile to share, a twinkle in her eye and loved caring for her ‘furry grandchildren,’ tending to her African violets and doing embroidery until her vision was impaired by MD,” noted the write up. “Following this, she enjoyed listening and singing along with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra via Alexa.”

Lucille is survived by her son, Carlton Brown, Jr. from Illinois, her daughter, Deborah Brown (Sopel) from Massachusetts, and her nephew, Raymond Irwin, and wife Kris from Connecticut. She was preceded in death by Carlton, as well as her sister, Eunice, her sister’s husband, Raymond Irwin, and their daughter, Janice Messier. She was affectionately known as, “Aunt Cille,” and will be missed by her grandchildren and an “extended family” of friends, according to her obituary.

The family has asked that memorial contributions in Lucille Brown’s memory be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN or the Wounded Warrior Project at woundedwarriorproject.org.

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