In Memory

Alice Brownell

Alice Brownell passed away on July 17, 2001 at 85 years old.

Alice Campbell Brownell was born Sept. 8, 1915, in Conrad, MT. She graduated from Conrad HS in 1932.  Alice then took the opportunity to get her two year teaching certificate from Northern Montana College at Havre in 1936.  She accepted a position at the Golden Valley School, east of Conrad, and began teaching there in the fall of 1936.  

Alice’s yearning for education took her back to Montana State College in 1938, where she earned a BS degree in Home Economics in 1941.  After being employed by the Farmers Home Administration office in Fairfield, Alice resumed her teaching career in the fall of 1947, teaching Home Economics and Math in Sunburst.

During her summers she continued her training.  She attended the University of Hawaii,  the University of Washington, and the University of Montana for continuing education credits. Alice earned a Masters in Library Science from the University of Montana in 1965.  She then moved to Fort Benton where she was the librarian at Fort Benton High School until 1985 when she retired from a life of education.  Alice moved to Conrad in 1987.

She was a long time Delta Kappa Gamma member, transferring to Omega Chapter in 1966.  Alice was involved in 4-H, an avid Utah Jazz fan and loved working crossword puzzles. 

Memorials are directed to the Conrad Public Library.


The following article appeared in the ..... on ....

Brownells donate DFS Scholarship
Family tree rooted in education

Jim Meier, Dollars for Scholars (DFS), Treasurer, is pleased to announce that a new endowed scholarship has been set up to honor the Brownell families. The DFS awards committee will be awarding the scholarship in May to a graduating Conrad High School senior, who intends to go to a Montana post secondary school.  The qualified applicant must have at least a 3.0 GPA. The exciting part that sets this scholarship apart from many others is that the scholarship is renewable. Once the student is awarded the $400 for their freshman year, second semester, they may apply for the award for three consecutive years while continuing to meet the criteria. The potential award is $2,800 per student.

Larry Brownell, retired Wells Fargo Officer, said, "The idea started with our family desiring to honor my aunt, Alice Brownell, who passed way in July 2001."  During those discussions when Larry, along with his aunt Elizabeth (Brownell) Erickson, brother Richard (Dick) Brownell, and cousin Carol (Brownell) DeBoo, desired to bring to light how higher education and the teaching profession were significant portions of the Brownell family heritage. "School, kids and the library were such big parts of Alice's life," Carol said. "We wanted to return something that would honor what she loved."  For these reasons the four resolved to donate to Conrad DFS in honor of Alice and all Brownells who had either devoted their lives to teaching or who had sought education beyond their high school diploma.  

Betty Erickson, Alice's sister, conveyed, "If it wasn't for our mother, Clara, none of us including Robert and Art, would have gotten through high school." Clara was a teacher, graduating in 1904 from Mount Holyoke College in Connecticut. She began teaching back east in 1904. In 1911 her friend, Mrs. Isaac (Mary) Denson convinced her to come out west.  Clara taught at a country school on the north side of the Marias River.  She lived on the south side of the river, which meant Clara had to ford the river to get to and from the school. This was before the Turner Bridge was in existence.  Clara married Max Brownell in 1913.

Max Brownell graduated from the College of Agriculture, the University of Minnesota in 1909 and came to Montana to homestead in 1910. While married and taking care of four children, Clara continued to teach. Through the years she taught at Conrad; Plains, MT; the Brownell School; the Jones School, during the oil boom years; and the Erickson School.  Betty remembers when Max would settle Clara in the buggy with a blanket over her legs and she would be off to school for the day. When the children were of age they went along with her.

Each of Max and Clara’s children and all of their grandchildren graduated from Conrad High School. Alice took the opportunity, after she graduated high school in '32, to get her two year teaching certificate from Northern Montana College at Havre. Alice accepted a position at the Golden Valley School, east of Conrad.  But her yearning for education brought her back to Montana State College to earn a degree in Home Economics in 1941. Alice resumed teaching in the fall of 1947 after being employed by the Farmers Home Administration office in Fairfield.  She taught at Sunburst High School (1947-1964) and Fort Benton H.S. (1965-1985).

During her summers she continued her training. One summer, she and Margaret Graham, retired CHS educator, attended the University of Hawaii for continuing education credits. Brownell also received summer school credits from the University of Washington and went on to earn a Masters in Library Science from the University of Montana in 1965. In 1985 Alice retired from a life of education.

The line of educated Brownells, including spouses, has well over 200 years of cumulative teaching experience. Family teachers are:  Clara and Alice Brownell, Arnold Erickson, Kathryn Erickson Smith, Kathleen (Brownell) Woeppel, Mary Alice (Brownell) Ramsey, William (Bill) Brownell, Rachel Brownell, Anne Marie Brownell, Michelle Gernaat Goyeu, Larry Brownell and spouses Mary Ell (Dahlstrom) Brownell, Kathleen M. Brownell, Barbara Brownell, Carol Brownell, and Wilmer Smith.

This May at CHS Awards Day, Conrad DFS will award close to $30,000 to Conrad grads. Later on in the summer the scholarship committee will gather to award another round of scholarships to upper level post high school students. These students have a dream in mind of finishing their education and joining the workforce of America.

This aspiration is held by the many Brownells who have gone on to receive a higher education, emulating their careers from Clara and Alice who portrayed how it could be done.