Francoise Brown, beloved wife of USAID (and predecessor agencies) alumnus Vincent W. Brown and mother of deceased USAID alumnus Christopher M. Brown passed away peacefully at the age of 89 on January 30, 2018 in Moraga, California. Francoise was a devoted USAID Foreign Service spouse who was a champion for USAID programs in the countries where her husband served (The Congo, Tunisia, Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Cote d’Ivoire.) In Kabul, Afghanistan she was instrumental in supporting a women’s craft cooperative. In each post where she served she organized and contributed to the American International Women’s Group. (See Vince Brown’s oral history recounting the Browns’ lives of service at: http://adst.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Brown-Vincent-W.pdf.)
Francoise lived a remarkable and full life. She survived war-time hardship as a child in France, travelled across the globe, including across Afghanistan, Pakistan and the former Soviet Union, raised a beautiful family, and touched countless people who met her. Throughout her life, she was also a devoted Christian Scientist.
Following the end of the Browns’ formal Foreign Service career, Francoise and Vince returned to the US – living in Lexington, Massachusetts and later in Bethesda, Maryland. While in the DC area, Francoise volunteered full time at the Smithsonian Institution, where she put to use her valuable—and by that time, increasingly rare—training in bookbinding at the Smithsonian’s restoration department to preserve old books and artifacts in the museum’s collections. Francoise also volunteered at her local Christian Science Church, where she managed the Christian Science Reading Room. Francoise was also a dynamic, engaged, and deeply loving grandmother and aunt. She devoted extensive time to her five grandchildren and to her niece and nephew. She taught the children to sew, the art of French cooking, (like making the perfect omelet), and how to master American delicacies like chocolate chip cookies.
No challenge was too steep, no country too distant or too difficult for Francoise to support her extended family in a USAID post. It is safe to say that without Francoise and all of her gifts to her family, our lives would have been very different. Friends who would like to donate in honor of Francoise’s contributions to USAID can send donations to: The First Church of Christ Scientist, Office of the Treasurer, Memorial Fund, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, P02-02 Boston, Massachusetts 02115.*