Ferne went to be with the Lord on February 18, 2019, surrounded by her loving family at the Hawthorne Inn in Danville. She was a devoted daughter, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Ferne was born on May 3, 1917 in Vincennes, Indiana (the day after her mother's birthday). Her family later moved to Catlin, Illinois. She graduated from Catlin High School in 1935 and married Claude D. "Brownie" Brown on January 1, 1942. Although home on leave from the Army, Brownie managed to invite the entire town of Catlin to the wedding. After the War, Ferne and Brownie moved to Danville, where they spent the rest of their respective lives.
She worked over 20 years as a librarian at the Danville Public Library, while her husband retired as vice president of First National Bank. Ferne and Brownie were active members of Central Christian Church in Danville and the church's CoWed class. After Brownie's death in 1983, she continued to be active in her church. Most of all, she loved being a mother and grandmother.
Ferne enjoyed cooking, baking, shopping, volunteering, and traveling (as far as Hawaii to the west and Germany to the east). She spent many hours playing bridge with family, friends, and her bridge club. She enjoyed celebrating birthdays with her many friends, including her longtime library colleagues (especially Susan Farr and Ellyn Smith), with whom she shared a group birthday card since the 1990's.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Mabel and Harry Bell; sisters, Dorothy Budislik and Jackie Weese; brothers, Jim Bell, Robert Bell, and Warren Bell; daughter, Melinda Sue Beckes; grandson, Sean Matthew Beckes; niece, Cheryl Pruitt; and nephews, Randy Weese, Robert Sams, and Shawn Sams.
Ferne is survived by her son, R. Michael Brown (Kazuko Suzuki); son-in-law, Michael (Lynne) Beckes; grandson, Scott Beckes; granddaughters, Stephanie Beckes (Chris) Hunter and Emi Brown; great-granddaughter, Madeleine Maguire; sister-in-law, Rene Bell; a special niece, Peggy Sams; and many other close nieces and nephews.
The family is planning a celebration of life to occur in Danville early in the summer of 2019. Memorial contributions may be given to Central Christian Church (1101 N Vermilion St., Danville, IL 61832) or to Danville Public Library (319 N Vermilion St., Danville, IL 61832). Memories and messages for the family may be left at www.krugercoanpape.com or on the Kruger-Coan-Pape Facebook page.