Obituary of Dorothy Mae Brown
Dorothy Mae “Dottie” Brown
Dorothy Mae “Dottie” Brown, passed away peacefully in her Joliet home, 96 years after she was born in her parents’ home on Highland Avenue. She was a member of the Joliet Township High School Class of ’41, a lifelong parishioner at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, and one of the last of the Great Generation of Jolietans who made the city what it is today. Dottie and her late husband were strong advocates for Joliet and Will County, renowned for their philanthropy and tireless dedication to local education, health care, and service to the needy.
Dottie was preceded in death by her dear husband, LaVerne “Bitz” Brown; parents, Frank and Rose Maxwell; brother, Frank (Betty) Maxwell; sister, Lorraine (Jim) Bily; parents-in-law, Seward and Florence Brown; brother-in-law, Wayne Brown; sister-in-law, Joan (LaVerne “Chip”) Vollmer; and niece, Marybeth Dopudja.
She is survived by nieces, Candy (Mike) Wagner, Cindy (Jeff Berry) Bily, Marcia Maxwell, Sharon (Jack) Tweedle, and Susan (John) Reed; nephews, James (Emi) Brown, Michael (Janine) Vollmer, Mark (Jan) Maxwell, Jim (Linda) Bily, Tim (Nadine) Bily, Mike (Christy Ford) Bily, and Patrick (Julie) Bily; faithful cousin, Marlene Walker; numerous great-nieces and great-nephews; loving caregivers, Katarzyna Gorna and Rose Petty; many dear friends including George and Regina Block, Jeanette D’Arcy, Jeanne Jacobs, and Bob and Rosemary Stephen also survive.
During World War II, Dottie worked at the Joliet Arsenal in Manhattan, while her high school sweetheart Bitz attended ROTC, and then went to fight with the Navy in the Pacific. After the War, the two were married at St. John’s, and embarked on the 67-year marriage that came to shape so many lives in the ensuing decades. In 1948, Dottie and Bitz teamed with high school friends Paul and Vicki Lambrecht to form Brown and Lambrecht Earthmovers. Much later in life Dottie often reminisced about those lean early years, how difficult it was to make ends meet, as she and Bitz worked and lived in the makeshift apartment above her in-law’s house on Western Avenue. Later, the company grew to become a major regional civil contractor, providing gainful employment to thousands of individuals throughout Illinois and the Midwest, yet Dottie never forgot the humble beginnings, and never ceased to be grateful for all the blessings that she and Bitz enjoyed. As the business became more self-sustaining, Dottie was freed to pursue her more civic-minded interests, which she did with gusto. For the last 60 years, Dottie has been a driving force in a number of local non-profit service organizations. Joliet Area Community Hospice, Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, The University of St. Francis, Lewis University, Joliet Catholic Academy, Providence High School, The Silver Cross Foundation, St. Joseph Hospital, Childerguild, and the Diocese of Joliet are just some of the entities that have benefitted from generous gifts of both time and treasure by Dottie and Bitz Brown. Numerous buildings in the area memorialize the names and legacy of this legendary couple.
On Friday, November 15, 2019, Dorothy Mae Brown will Lie in State at the site of her baptism, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 404 N. Hickory Street, Joliet, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m., with a Mass of Christian Burial following at 11:00 a.m. Enshrinement will follow at Resurrection Mausoleum in Romeoville. In lieu of flowers, donations to any of the organizations listed above will be appreciated. Fred C. Dames Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. For more information, please call (815) 741-5500 or visit her Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com