Therese “Butsie” Brown, who lived on Ocracoke from 1977 to 1999, died July 16 in Whitehall, Pa., where she lived with her daughter Betsy Maier. Her nephew, John Hageman, said she died peacefully in her sleep.
Butsie was well-known to the community for her volunteer work with the Ocracoke Preservation Society and the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department.
Islanders recalled her help with the popular Bingo nights when, prior to the start, the fire company truck would ride the streets and it was Butsie’s voice heard throughout the village as she announced over a loudspeaker, “Bingo, Bingo, Bingo!”
Her artwork has appeared in many Ocracoke publications and has also appeared on coffee mugs and commemorative plates. Notepads with her simple drawings of the island are still available at the Ocracoke Preservation Society museum.
An avid quilter, she captured the grand prize in 1975 for quilting at the Montgomery County (Maryland) Fair. Her creations are grace homes as far away as Alaska, Switzerland and Germany. Anyone who has ever seen one of Butsie’s quilts is impressed with her sense of color and design, her tiny stitches and her attention to detail.
Butsie worked for several years at the Village Craftsmen and made smaller quilted wall hangings for sale in the shop after she “retired.”
Birds were a passion of hers and she would prepare a list of the species she observed in her Widgeon Woods neighborhood for the annual Ocracoke Christmas Bird Count.
She grew up in Washington, DC, and worked as an artist for ATT&T prior to her retirement when she and her husband, Charlie Brown, moved to Ocracoke.
A devout Catholic, for years her home served as the place for the island’s weekly Catholic mass.
A celebration of her life will be scheduled on the island in the fall.