Margaret Fox Brownlee, a long time and former resident of Oroville, Washington, died on April 2, 2022 at the age of 94. She passed away at her residence in Wenatchee, Washington.
Margaret was born to Peter Fox and Clara Miller Fox at the family farm in Riceville, Iowa on December 22, 1927. She graduated from Riceville High School in 1945. After completing high school she taught at a country school for two years during World War II. Later she decided that teaching was not her forte and she pursued a career in nursing. In 1947, Margaret enrolled in Mercy School of Nursing in Mason City, Iowa and received her R.N. in 1950. Upon graduating, Margaret and some friends moved to Iowa City and were employed at University Hospital.
It was on a blind date at the University of Iowa where Margaret met her husband of 69 years, Hollis “Bud” Brownlee. After a whirlwind romance they were married the following year in 1951 in New Haven, Iowa. Margaret continued working in Iowa City until 1953 at which time Bud graduated and they moved to Sturgis, South Dakota. The next ten years were spent raising six children and working part time at the local hospital. Bud worked at a nearby VA hospital. Those were great years for Margaret and Bud. They did a lot of camping and fishing. Even in winter they would drive their car and kids, some still in bassinets, out on the ice, dig holes and spend the day fishing.
In 1962, Bud accepted a trainee position with the U.S. Border Patrol and was sent to Chula Vista, California. In the meantime, Margaret sold the home in Sturgis, hired a rancher who had a new cattle truck to move their furnishings, packed up the six kids and headed to California. She made the drive halfway across the country in less than two days. Margaret often laughed and said “he wasn’t going to get rid of us that easy.”
California was a pleasant change in climate that Margaret enjoyed immensely, especially after the cold South Dakota winters. It was the all American dream, California Dreamin’ at its best. The farm girl from Iowa took advantage of the opportunity and organized frequent weekend outings for her family to the beach and zoo and camping trips throughout California. All the while Margaret continued to work at a local clinic in Chula Vista until Bud was transferred to Van Buren, Maine in 1966. This was followed by another cross country move to Oroville in 1970.
Margaret and Bud discovered at the very outset of their arrival in Oroville that it was an ideal location to raise a family and they lived there for the next 46 years until they moved to Wenatchee in 2016. Throughout the years Margaret continued to work, finally retiring from nursing after several years employment at the North Valley Nursing Home in Tonasket, Washington.
Margaret was an active member in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Oroville, an avid bridge player during the winter months, volunteer at the local food bank and known to look forward to annual trips to Reno.
Margaret is survived by her daughter Teresa and husband Kenneth Tripp of Oroville; son, Craig Brownlee and wife Mary of Wenatchee; son Bob Brownlee of Winthrop, Washington; son Brian Brownlee and wife Rebecca of Selah, Washington; son Scott Brownlee and wife Kathy of Eagle River, Alaska and son Kurt Brownlee and wife Danna of Wenatchee. She is also survived by 16 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Margaret is predeceased by her husband Hollis “Bud” Brownlee, her parents, three brothers, Ralph, Leonard and Richard and three sisters, Marie, Virgilia and Helen.
A funeral mass will be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Oroville, Washington on Friday, May 20 at 11 a.m. Reception and refreshments to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Oroville Food Bank, P.O. Box 471, Oroville, WA 9844 or via direct donation to Umpqua Bank, Oroville, WA; Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011 or online Alzheimer’s Association | Donate to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease.