Olivia Bowman Brown, affectionately known as Mama Brown, Sweet Mama, Sweetheart, Lee, Mama, Mom, Nana, Nams, Auntie, Auntie Lee, and Mrs. Brown, was born on October 10, 1947, to Henry and Olivia Bowman in Wisner, Louisiana (both of whom preceded her in death). She was the second child to this union and grew up in the rural communities of Winsboro and Gilbert, Louisiana where she attended Franklin Parish Elementary School before the family moved to Monroe, Louisiana. In Monroe, Olivia attended Swayze Elementary and later graduated from Richwood High School in 1965.
After graduating high school, Olivia attended Robinson Business College and was certified as a Business Secretary. Soon after, in 1968, she left Louisiana for employment at Alcorn A&M College in Lorman, Mississippi where she worked in the office of the Dean of Students.
After working at Alcorn A&M for a year, Olivia returned to Monroe to join her mother and two younger siblings in their move to Los Angeles, California. While in Los Angeles, Olivia was employed at UCLA in the Office of Admissions from 1969 to 1980. After leaving UCLA, Olivia worked at California State University, Dominguez Hills from 1980 to 1981, before changing careers from education to real estate. Olivia worked as a licensed real estate agent at Real Estate Merchants in Carson, California until moving to Cedar Creek, Texas in 1985.
While plotting her career path, Olivia met and married Martin McDonald Brown, the love of her life, on May 6, 1972. Martin and Olivia were married 47 years and shared a life of commitment and dedication to each other that is legendary among family and friends: When you saw one, you saw the other. They were a team. Everything that they had in life was accomplished together.
While living in California, two children, Shawanda and Martin II, were born to their union in 1974 and 1978 respectively. After getting her family settled in their new Cedar Creek home, Olivia worked briefly for the Bastrop Independent School District (BISD) before moving on to Huston-Tillotson College (now University), where she worked for nearly ten years and later earned her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration at the age of 50. After earning her degree, Olivia worked for Bastrop County and then returned to BISD, from where she retired in 2013. While there, she taught first grade and Career Technology at Cedar Creek Middle School and High School. Subsequently, there are many adults today who learned to read and write and utilize technology because of Mrs. Brown.
After returning to Cedar Creek, Mr. and Mrs. Brown, as they were affectionately called, began building a housing community on Martin Lane. It didn’t take long for this community, which began as a real estate investment, to become much more than that to them. The many families who lived (and live) on Martin Lane were, and are, their beloved extended family for whom they treasure.
A life well spent and a life of service to others best describes Olivia Bowman Brown. She was a longtime member of Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church and most recently began attending Union Chapel AME. Olivia was instrumental in the lives of family and friends, and we all have numerous stories about the many ways she blessed us by her generosity and acts of loving kindness.
She leaves to celebrate her life and legacy a loving husband Martin McDonald Brown, one daughter, Shawanda Stewart (husband Antoine), one son, Martin McDonald Brown II, and one Godson, Charles Edward Arrington; two sisters: Mattie Merriweather and Patricia Ann Wells-Poland (husband Jerome); three brothers: Sam Wells Jr. (who preceded her in death), Kelvin Wells (wife Shamikka), and Derrick Wells (wife Tori); one sister-in-law, Sophia Williams (husband Elroy); nine grandchildren: Morgan, Taylor, Allen, William, Martin III, Amari, Maleah, Tammy, and Rita; one great grandchild, Urasha; one aunt, Lucille Davis; five uncles: Willie Davis, Jesse Davis, Alfred Davis (Dorothy, wife), Ben Davis, and Charlie Davis (wife, Linda); nine nieces: Courtney, Dominique, Destini, Diane, Jewel, Beverly, Marilyn, Marcia, and Rosalind (deceased): six nephews: Darrell, Chester, Milton, Roderick, Maverick, and Ernest; and a host of great nephews and nieces and numerous other family members and friends.