Betsey J.S. Brown, a community activist who represented the Catoctin District on the Loudoun Board of Supervisors from 1988 to 1991, died July, 29.
She was born Oct. 24, 1929, to Morris Reinoehl Smith and Harriet Richards Smith. She grew up in many different cities across the U.S. as her engineer father worked on building bridges, dams and other projects.She graduated from Syracuse University, where she was president of the female student body.She married Henry “Harry” Bedinger Rust Brown, who in 1972 co-founded America’s first money market fund, The Reserve Primary Fund.
They lived in Westfield, NJ, where she worked as a family therapist until moving to Rockland Farm near Lucketts, the Rust family home for more than 200 years, in 1985. Sheconsidered herself a caretaker of Rockland and offered the house and extensive gardens, which she restored, for events including the Leesburg Garden Club’s Historic Garden Week in 1999 and 2017, along with innumerable community, club and civic group gatherings. They placed the house on the National Register of Historic Places and maintained the 500-acre property in agricultural use, supported by the Rockland Agricultural District which they established with Loudoun County.
She quickly became a civic leader in Loudoun.She waselected to the county board as part of the Plan 87 slate of growth-control advocates who rewrote Loudoun’s planning policies as a wave of development was sweeping over Ashburn’s dairy farms. She also was a founder of Friends of Route 15, which sought to improve traffic flow and safety on the heavily traveled two-lane road while retaining its rural nature. She also supported the establishment of the Catoctin Rural Historic District, an area of 25,000 acres recognized by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources for itspicturesque farmland, architectural significance and agricultural history. She was longstanding member of both the Leesburg Garden Club and the Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club.From 2001 to 2005 she worked on land use issues while serving as vice chairman on the National Affairs and Legislation Committee of the Garden Club of America.She was honored in 2014 with a certificate for her 25 years of outstanding commitment to serving the Garden Club of America, the Fauquier Loudoun Garden Club and her community.She also was a former member of 100 Women Strong, a philanthropic organization formed to enhance the community of Loudoun County and the lives of its residents through grant donations.
She was predeceased by her husband in 2008. She is survived byher children Peter Fitzhugh Lee Brown, Alexander McFaddon Richards Brown, Elizabeth Sage Brown Devlin,and Harriet Rust Brown Dickerson; grandchildren Rachel Ann Brown, Evan David Addison Brown, Elizabeth Harvey, Alexander Brown, Georgia Brown, Wende Sage Devlin, Abigail Lee Devlin, Madeline Elizabeth Devlin, Lucille Dickerson, and Henry Dickerson; and great-grandchildren Rocklyn Harvey and Isla Harvey.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Sunday, Aug. 4 at 4 p.m at Rockland Farm, 16306 Rockland Lane, Leesburg.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be in memory of Betsey Brown to either Capital Caring Hospicecapitalcaring.orgor The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.