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Elva R. Brown, retired secretary Jan. 12, 1920 -- March 18, 2006

Services for Elva Ruth Brown of the Town of Tonawanda, a retired secretary, will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in Carlton A. Ullrich Funeral Home, 3000 Delaware Ave., Kenmore.

She died Saturday in Schofield Residence, Town of Tonawanda, after a struggle with cancer. She was 86.

Born Elva Ruth Bibb in Somers, Ark., she took charge of her two older brothers and four younger sisters at age 10 after her mother died. She attended schools in Oklahoma, including Ponca City Community College and Oklahoma Professional Business School.

Mrs. Brown lived in Mesa, Ariz., from 1947 to 2003, when she moved to the Buffalo area. She was a secretary in the Mesa public schools for 26 years and was one of the founders of the Arizona School Secretary Association.

As a blind retiree, she successfully lobbied the government in Mesa to put speed bumps on the streets surrounding her assisted living complex, then crusaded to establish a bus stop there. She then started a low-vision group that she taught to ride the buses and how to navigate in the shopping malls.

Before her vision failed in the 1980s, she enjoyed sewing, especially quilting, and made clothes for family and friends.

Her husband, Woodrow W., a pharmacist, died in 2003.

Surviving are a daughter, Lorena McDonald of the Town of Tonawanda; a son, Troy D. of Mesa; a sister, Leera Bibb Jones of San Bernardino, Calif.; and four grandchildren.


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