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Buffy

Buffy Red Feather Brown

d. October 23, 2021

Buffy Red Feather Brown Buffy Brown was born in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 29, 1928. As the first born to Hattie Branch Newell and Levy Newell I; her parents delighted in her bright, energetic personality and beauty. As a little girl, Buffy delighted in spending the entire summer split between her paternal and maternal grandparents who both lived in Mount Olive, North Carolina, where Levy and Hattie from which her parents Levy and Hattie had migrated. She loved to tell her children the stories of her summers there. Her maternal grandparents lived on a farm and Buffy would feed all of the animals. Once, she took one of her grandparents’ goats on a tour of the house! “Grandmom heard the sound of clop-clop-clop” Mom would giggle, and she said, “What’s that? Did you bring that goat in here?” Buffy answered “Yes” right away because she didn’t see anything wrong with letting the animals come inside. She loved animals. Once, in Brooks School in Philadelphia, the teacher asked if any of the children wanted to take a pet home for the summer. Mom volunteered to take home a chicken and rabbit. She loved them and took care of them. Buffy loved the arts and culture, and even some sports. As a teen she began ballet and tap. She became good enough to contemplate teaching dance, until an accident with her foot prevented her from continuing. She once signed up for a participated in a tennis clinic with the renowned Althea Gibson. Buffy thought that the clinic was free and didn’t bring any money. When Gibson discovered this, she was so charmed by Buffy that she invited her to stay and participate regardless. Buffy always had a natural love of God and His creation. One day she was walking by a Catholic Church, Our Lady of Victory, and the doors were open because it was a hot summer day. She heard the hymn “Ave Maria” being sung in Latin. The year was about 1944 and Buffy was 16. She began attending this parish on Sundays (even though she could not go to Communion,) and kept the Catholic Church in her heart from this time forward. In 1948 Buffy married Hamilton Brown I. They were a beautiful young couple who delighted in life and in each other. Buffy attended Palmer Business School and became certified in Administration. She worked for the Veteran’s Administration until her son, Hamilton Jr (nicknamed “Skipper) was born. Hamilton Jr. still retains the memory of Buffy and Hamilton sitting at the kitchen table as he was in a very high chair and the doted over him. By 1949, Buffy had obtained a “Venerable Kateri Tekakwitha” prayer card and her heart was so moved as she treasured the idea of Tekakwitha’s holiness being recognized by the Church. Five years later, Buffy was baptized into the Catholic Church. A couple of months later, she gave birth to a daughter, named Theresa. Buffy always told the story of having a vision of St. Therese and of being told to give her daughter this name. Buffy delighted in Theresa; nicknamed “Terri,” and would play with her “baby girl” and take pictures all morning as a stay at home Mom. “Baby girl” became Buffy’s life-long pet name for her daughter, “Mom was my first memory of experiencing love.” Theresa still remembers the days of that wonderful feeling of seeing that she was loved even though she could not understand it at age 1 ½ years. Buffy and Hamilton purchased a piano and when each of their children reached elementary school, they encouraged our lessons. Besides being a doting mother, Buffy spent time on arts and crafts, before it became fashionable. Buffy did tile art and beading looms. In 1966, Buffy returned to work at the Philadelphia School District as an administrative assistant. Her extracurricular life took an interesting turn as well. She joined an archery club and became an avid archer, as did her husband. She would go out with Hamilton and Skipper (daughter Terri came along but was too young to shoot,) and she enjoyed the beautiful summer days in the park her young family. She even taught some of her nieces and nephews archery. Buffy had the gifts to lead, teach, and most of all – mother. Buffy faithfully took her son “Skipper” to serve at 6 a.m. weekday Mass – back when the Mass was in Latin. Home life was never dull. There were always pets around the house and often the music played or television was going. Yet, Buffy kept a prayer table with several statues of The Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Therese, St. Martin DePorres (and once she was eventually canonized by Pope Benedict XVI) St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Buffy was extraordinary with her children. She would give “Friday night parties” with record playing and dancing. She would host sleep-overs for her children and their friends and all of the kids on the block loved her. She would give “pool parties” for her children and their friends with a kiddie pool in the little backyard on 6121 Sansom St. where she and Hamilton started out raising their children. “Mom always made everything so classy, no matter what it was or where we were,” daughter Theresa always lovingly teased that she “…could make anything seem better than it actually was – because she would fix things up so nicely, or talk about a person’s situation in such a way that it gave them their full dignity that others might have missed. Buffy’s vibrant personality attracted many people from every ethnicity and walk of life. “Your mother generates love,” an associate of hers once casually mentioned to her daughter. Buffy was always very popular because of the love she gave, not for attempting to be a “people-pleaser.” She was always a strong, courageous woman. Buffy’s interest in her heritage and American Indian affairs had begun to grow, prior to the emergence of any political movements or groups of high profile. She was a pioneer in every interest that she would take on. When social unrest became the norm in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, Buffy was always interested in all cultures coming together in peace. “Mom could always make people and things sound classier than most people would look upon them. This had to do with the love she had for them that just came naturally to her. In 1969, The Browns moved to the East Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. The relatively rustic property encouraged the enjoyment that she had with her husband, children, and her brother, Levy II, in cook-outs in the summer, and a beautiful new home for holiday gatherings in the Fall and Winter. Buffy could make a song out of anything. She could always make her children laugh, no matter how sad or angry they might be about something. As the 1970’s came in, Buffy grew ever more proud of “…my tall, handsome son and my pretty baby girl,” as they began to mature and her daughter became her clothes-shopping and traveling buddy, and best girlfriend for life. In 1975, Buffy joined the United American Indians of the Delaware Valley and learned about the old Indian ways in one of the first organizations in the area to work for the preservation of American Indian culture. In the 1980’s, her children now grown, Buffy began to lecture in elementary, middle schools and universities about the true culture and history of American Indians. No more bobbing of the hand in front of the mouth and making that funny “Indian noise,” Buffy was not having that, and she became fluent in the Cherokee language. She rejected the stereotypes – before it was the “cool” thing to do, and devoted much of her work, outside of the school district, to educating school children, university students and faculty, and the general public, via newspapers and her growing high profile at the United American Indians of the Delaware Valley pow-wows, on Indian culture. Buffy was an adjunct faculty member at Temple University in the Multi-Cultural Studies Department, and taught classes in Native American culture, and history. She also participated in the International Classroom and University of Pennsylvania. She was always on the go and loved her work meeting so many people. Buffy also became a member of the Classical Guitar Society. She became accomplished enough to be invited to tour with only 2 other protégés with a mentor who taught them. Instead she desired to stay home with her family. Moreover; she worked on the Artists Booking committee for the music organization, and helped obtain the appearance of world great classical guitarist Andrέs Segovia when he performed there. Buffy’s Native American Activities expanded as she developed the Southeastern Cherokee Confederacy’s Regional Branch in Philadelphia. Buffy’s focus was to raise awareness in the Delaware Valley of Native Americans and their culture, as she had always done, but she also decided that her organization would give scholarships to American Indian students who wanted to attend college. The focal point was the annual Cherokee Festival, which was written up by many newspapers and covered in local television community calendar psa’s. The proceeds went for the scholarship awards. Percentage-wise, this was just a small part of her efforts. By this time, Buffy was an accomplished teacher of culture and language, musician, lecturer, and media draw, and still the natural born lover of people, dancer, and comedienne, and mom extraordinaire. One newspaper even published a photograph of just her ears; the 7 pairs of earrings (for pierced ears) filled with turquoise stones. Buffy then formed The Kateri Circle at her parish. This was a prayer group where she and other parishioners prayed every Tuesday night in the rectory, for the canonization of then “Blessed” Kateri Tekakwitha. This developed into annual Masses to pray for Tekakwitha’s holiness to be assessed by the Church that she is in fact, in the presence of God (the Communion of Saints.) The parish loved Buffy’s energetic and youthful personality. By this time she was in her 70’s but no one thought of age with this vivacious and extraordinary woman. Buffy was summoned downtown to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1996. As was often the case, she had a youthful wonder as to what they could possibly want. “‘What did you do? You must be in trouble. The archdiocese wants to see you downtown’ ” She laughingly recalls her husband Hamilton relaying to her. What the Church wanted was in fact, her participation in a new effort of cultural outreach by the Catholic Church. The first annual Mass that would feature Catholics representing all of the various ethnic groups that had often been left out, as Italian and Irish Catholics celebrated their Faith as a people, groups such as African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, had no sense of cultural association within their Catholic communities; that was about to change. Once again, Buffy was at the forefront of a positive effort. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office of Migrants and Refugees was soon begun. The effort, which is now known as the annual “Cultural Mass,” became a save the date favorite among active Catholics of all backgrounds. People from all backgrounds loved Buffy because she loved them, and she never lost her type of fun to be around and youthful personality. She was chosen to give the welcoming address from the front of the Cathedral; inviting foreigners and Americans representing all nations to participate in this Mass of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to worship God as people of “One Faith and Many Cultures.” Soon after, Buffy was asked by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to represent them at the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her entire family, immediate and extended, marveled at all that she was doing and the strong sense of joy and humility that she had for these honors. On September 22, 2000, Buffy got such a youthful kick out of, and truly appreciated receiving the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (The FBI) 2000 Cultural Diversity Unity Festival Award of Appreciation. The US Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District presented Buffy a plaque for her participation in the National Native American HeritageMonth observance program. That occurred on November 20, 2001. By this time Buffy was 73. In 2003, Buffy was given both the Prudential Financial Certificate of Appreciation as the Keynote Speaker at their Native American Indian Heritage Month 2003 Main Event, and the Barbershop Talk Human Family Day Good Neighbor of the Year Award for her commitment to community services and dedication to improving the quality of life for others. In March of 2004, Buffy was recognized as “…one of the region’s Movers & Shakers” by the American Women’s Heritage Society, and the National Association of University Women, National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, among other groups in a joint presentation to her. Along the way, there were also many City of Philadelphia recognitions. Buffy never changed. She remained that loving wife and mother who could always make her children laugh, no matter how badly they felt. And who could turn any phrase into a song and little dance instantly. She never stopped being a real mom; her son Hamilton remembers that even in recent years, when he took a bad fall on the ice, “Mom would call me first thing in the morning religiously everyday and asked me how I was feeling.” In 2005 Buffy’s husband Hamilton I passed and Buffy found herself “on her own” for the first time in her life. She took time off from all of her activities to stop and think. Two years later in 2007, Buffy took off for a European pilgrimage with her daughter to the Vatican, Fatima, Portugal, the great holy sites of Spain and Lourdes, France. While in Rome, she became so excited about the general audience with Pope Benedict that upon returning to Philadelphia, she sent him a birthday card through the Sec. of State for the Vatican - every year. Once again, with a child-like delight, Buffy immersed herself in her faith and Love the Lord Jesus and desire to be close to HIM. While in Portugal, Buffy and her daughter Theresa both loved the story of the Fatima children and their closeness to God, through their contact with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Buffy wore a Miraculous Medal from almost the very moment she was baptized in 1959. She was a wonderful Catholic as far as her daughter was concerned because, “Mom was such a big proponent of the saints’ intercession through novenas, the rosary, and took her Sunday obligation so seriously her entire life. These things bolstered her loving heart for others; she was never self-righteous or cold. She did not believe in being prayerful and then being indifferent with other people. You’d be surprised how many are like that – not my mom.” In the 2010’s Buffy relaxed and enjoyed her life with her grown children near to her. She enjoyed watching her daughter barbecue, watching The Andy Griffith Show and recalling her summers in North Carolina that she still treasured so much. She often talked about returning. Speaking with her son on the phone, and even more, seeing him, would make her day. In June of 2021 Buffy became seriously ill and was hospitalized or in skilled nursing through all but 2 weeks of the summer through most of October. While sick in the hospital, she joked about a mild and somewhat embarrassing symptom of her illness and made a song and dance out of it when many people would have been upset and miserable. She sat up and did a little dance from the waist up and sang clearly the hilarious lyrics she made up on the spot. Her daughter, who was visiting, the nurses, and even her roommate cracked up laughing. Buffy would pass 1 week later. Even during her last 7 days with a grave and painful illness, nearing death, she managed to show those around her that– life is beautiful. Buffy Red Feather Brown is survived by her beloved first born son, Hamilton Brown II, her “forever baby girl” daughter Theresa Brown, many of her own cousins, including but not limited to Jackie Newell Hayes, and Walter “Bootsey” Roy, a beloved “forever sister-in-friendship” Janice Newell-Byrd, and beloved sister-in-law Marjorie Newell. Also, Buffy is survived by her nephews Brandon Newell, Levy Newell III, Dr. Mark Newell, Wesley Newell, nieces, Jennifer Newell Klepsch, Janice Newell Powers, and several grand-nieces, including but not limited to, Melissa Klepsch, and Veronica Newell, and grand-nephews, David Buschman and Dane Buschman, along with great-grand nieces which include but are not limited to, Kayla Klepsch, Nadia Jones, and a great-grand nephew, James Jones.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

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