Funeral Details


Funeral Details

Barbara Elaine Brown

February 14, 1929 - January 7, 2019


Date and Time

Friday, January 11, 2019 at 11:00 AM


Congregation Solel
1301 Clavey Road
Highland Park, Illinois 60035


Rabbi Evan Moffic
Cantor Jay O'Brien
Congregation Solel

Interment - Private

Send Shiva


Congregation Solel
1301 Clavey Road
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
Following the service until 2PM


Andrew and Gail Brown Residence
1209 Lincoln Avenue South
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
Saturday 6:30PM - 9PM, Sunday 2PM - 4:30PM and 6:30PM - 9PM,
and Monday 6:30PM - 9PM
Minyan 7:30PM each evening

Memorial Contributions

Congregation Solel
1301 Clavey Road
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
The Field Museum Integrative Research Center
1400 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605
4101 North Ravenswood Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60613
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, Illinois 60022


Barbara Elaine Russell Brown, born February 14, 1929, passed away January 7, 2019, 38 days shy of her 90th birthday. Barbara was married to Roger Brown with whom they had six children, five of which, Jeffrey, Owen, Andrew, Henry and Vanessa survive her, as do 18 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Barbara was born in Chicago into a household of Jewish immigrants from Romania and Russia. Her father died of wounds sustained in the First World War shortly before the start of the Second. To support Barbara and her brother Maynard, her mother, Min, returned to work as a milliner. The extended family lived in the Austin neighborhood. Barbara's childhood pleasures included the local library (her "second home"), her bicycle, watching Shirley Temple at the movies, and in summer, extended stays on the farm of her uncle Sidney in Wisconsin. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois.

She and Roger married on May 16, 1953, and shortly thereafter moved to Highland Park, where they initially purchased five acres of orchard, wood and marsh in an undeveloped section of what was then a small suburb. Highland Park grew up around them. So did their five children, as well as multiple dogs that were moderately trainable -to make room for all this, they eventually added another five-acre woodlot.

Barbara enriched the community. She joined the Highland Park Library Board, served on the city's Environmental Commission, as a guide at the Heller Nature Center, and volunteered at her children's elementary schools, and their many extracurricular activities. Barbara also served on the Woman's Boards of the Field Museum (since 1974) and of the Chicago Botanic Garden (since 2010). She was president of the Evanston North Shore Bird Club for decades, as well. She loved gardening, classical music, mysteries and Asian art, in short, she was the perfect model of the engaged and supportive housewife of the '50s.

Except she was much more. Working as a woman scientist in what was then a man's world, in her professional capacity Barbara served on the research staff of Chicago's Field Museum for nearly 50 years, concentrating in mammalogy, and specializing in New World species. She was a participant on several of the museum's research expeditions to Brazil's Cerrado and Atlantic coastal forests and the author of an important treatise on marsupials. The scientific community recognized her work eponymously, naming a number of tropical mammals and birds in her honor. A curatorial position in ornithology at the Science Museum of Minnesota bears her name, as well as a nature reserve that forms part of the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

A dedicated birdwatcher, Barbara "birded" throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and Central America. She traveled the world with Roger as well, attending the four Grand Slam tournaments and visiting not only the well-trod capitals of London/Rome/Paris, but also Tbilisi/Tehran/Yogyakarta, and other spots so far off the beaten track that their names have no easily discernible vowels. To stay in shape for these voyages, she regularly engaged in tennis and swimming, and encouraged her children to get off their beds and into the gym.

Her family grieves her passage but celebrates her life. She suffered multiple organ failures. As a biologist, forthright and honest, she knew her end and wanted to know when it was close. Being so informed proved a relief for her, and all others involved.

The family requests any donations in her honor to be made either to the Field Museum's Integrative Research Center ( , Thresholds (, Congregation Solel ( or the Chicago Botanic Gardens (

Service Friday 11AM at Congregation Solel, 1301 Clavey Road , Highland Park, Il 60035. Memorials to Congregation Solel, or the Field Museum Integrative Research Center, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive., Chicago, Illinois 60605, or Thresholds, 4101 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60613,, or Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois 60022, would be appreciated. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals - Skokie Chapel, 847.229.8822,


We encourage you to share your personal
condolences and stories of Barbara Elaine Brown below and
we will share them with the family.

Jonathan and Annis Leight

Our heartfelt condolences. We will remember Barbara as kind, charming, welcoming, and bright.


Barbara was a formidable intellect, and charming teller os stories, and an important presence in The Field Museum. Her scientific contributions are lasting. She is missed by her colleagues here, and her memory will endure.
Richard Lariviere
President and CEO]
Field Museum

Jon Siskel

May her memory be a blessing. It was a joy to share a walk in nature with Barbara, and I will especially cherish our rambles in Fink Park with our dogs.

Lance Grande

Barbara was a generous soul who treated her friends like family. We saw her in many different roles here at the Field Museum, and we will all miss her dearly. We send our heartfelt condolences to Roger, Owen, and the rest of her family.

Jean Franczyk

Barbara so loved the woods and the birds, helping all of us really see and appreciate them. She was a great conservation champion and all of us at the Chicago Botanic Garden mourn her passing and celebrate her life.

Bruce Patterson

Barbara was a wonderful presence in the Field Museum for nearly a half century, transforming the scientific departmentsâ??which were then mostly male and independently focused on their respective projectsâ??into a more interactive community with almost family-like airs. I once described her role on those of us in Mammals as serving as our den mother. As proud as Barbara was of her Field Museum family, her devotion to the Brown Clan and love for all its members positively radiated in every personal conversation with her. I hope her family can find solace in the extraordinary impact that Barbara has had on all of us and that we can all emulate her shining example going forward.

Vicki Horwich

Barbara will be remembered as the woman who was good at everything. A good friend a devoted wife and Mother and outstanding cook a lover of nature, birds and animals and gifted with extraordinary energy and passion for science tennis and travel. And to add to all that she made the best cheese cake ever!
With my deepest sympathy and warmest love to Roger and the entire family,
Vicki Horwich

Cindy Wolfson

My favorite place in the Botanic Garden bears her name. I am grateful for her gift every time I visit, enjoy the quiet, the birds, the woods, the pond. Thank you Barbara.

Carole Feiger

I really got to know Barbara when she and Roger visited Longboat Key,
She was so smart and so much fun. I learned the difference between the Cormorant and Ahinga. Water birds that I saw every day. We watched them on land and in the sky. She was delighted to see the Spoonbilled Roseates .
My condolences to the family. She will be missed.

Joe Moos

Warm, Warm wishes to Roger and your entire family.

Ed Bederman

Barbara was a smart bright fellow congregant at Solel. She was an important participant in the Torah class
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