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Gena Brown, 48, died after saving her children

Posted by David Dahl, Regional Editor September 16, 2008 01:00 PM

(Family photo)

Gena R. Brown, a Lexington woman known for her devotion to her children and for enjoying rides on a motorcycle, died Saturday Sept. 13 after saving her two daughters from a dryer fire that ignited their home.

Brown, 48, yelled for her daughters to get out, as the fire tore through the house on Paul Revere Road in the early hours of the morning. Jordan and Kendal Brown, ages 10 and 12, climbed out a second floor window and warned neighbors to call 911. Brown was unable to escape before firefighters arrived at 5 a.m. The fire is believed to be the result of lint buildup in a clothes dryer.

A mother of three, Brown was active and involved, taking her children to hockey, cheerleading and dance. She was also known to surprise her children, making spontaneous travel plans to go Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket for the weekend.

“Her children were her life,” said longtime friend Dawn MacKerron of Belmont.

Brown’s close-knit group of friends, whom she called the “Friday Night Girls,” describe her as an outgoing, vivacious, and energetic personality. She rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle and played softball with the Moms on the Mound in Lexington. Brown loved to cook and throw dinner parties, said friend MacKerron. Her favorite dish was an Armenian dessert called “kadayif.”

An avid golfer and gardener, Brown was a “friend who would give any part of herself to those she loved,” said Jeanne E. Borelli. “In this tragic case, she gave herself to her children like the great mother she always was.”

Brown had worked as a sonographer, or ultrasound technician, at Newton-Wellesley Hospital since January, where co-workers described her as a team player who cared deeply for her patients.

Brown was born on Oct. 19, 1959, in Dayton, Ohio to Gerald Newkirk and the late Peggy Newkirk. She grew up Schererville, Indiana where she attended Lake Central High School. She graduated from Indiana University in 1981 with a degree in marketing.

After college, Brown moved to California where she worked as a sales person for Pitney-Bowes and later as a loan originator. She moved to Massachusetts in the late 1980s and married Jim Brown of Belmont, in the early 90s. After their divorce, she went back to school at Middlesex Community College and in 2005 she earned her license as a diagnostic medical sonographer.

She moved to Lexington with her two girls in 2001. Her 15-year-old son Jake lives with his father Jim, in Belmont.

Brown is survived by her three children, Jake, Kendal, and Jordan, her father, Gerald Newkirk, her stepsister, Dede Lush, ex-husband Jim Brown, nieces and nephews, and many loving friends.

A memorial service in Gena’s honor will be held Friday, Sept. 19, at 11 a.m. at Grace Chapel, 59 Worthen Rd., Lexington, with arrangements by Bedrosian Funeral Home.

Donations in Brown’s memory may be made to the Gena R. Brown Children’s Education Fund, c/o Belmont Savings Bank, 2 Leonard St., Belmont, MA 02478. Proceeds will go toward financing the education of her three children.

-- Erin Cahill

19 comments so far...
  1. Gena, life will never be the same without you. I know you are at peace and are grateful that Kendal & Jordan escaped to safety. Love you.

    Posted by Jeanne Borelli September 16, 08 01:42 PM
  1. Gena, the FNGs miss you so much! Our gatherings will never be the same without you. Rest in peace my dear friend.

    Posted by Debbie Daviau September 16, 08 03:29 PM
  1. Mom I love you. RIP.

    Posted by Jake Brown September 16, 08 03:56 PM
  1. All of Gena's friends in Indiana are thinking of her and her children during this difficult time. We will miss a dear sweet friend in Gena. We have our great High School memories that will live on in our hearts.

    Posted by Melissa Hurley September 16, 08 03:58 PM
  1. Gena, Newton Wellesley Hospital will not be the same without you. I will miss you deeply especially in infertility.

    My sympathy goes out to everyone that knew her especially to her children. She was a wonderful woman.

    Posted by Tanya Watts September 16, 08 06:28 PM
  1. My prayers are with you. I wish you peace.

    Posted by Anonymous September 16, 08 07:28 PM

    Posted by Zack Boudreau September 16, 08 08:17 PM
  1. Gena was a great person and friend, and she loved her children VERY much. She was a very happy, fun-loving person, and will be sadly missed by many. I wish Jordan, Kendal, and Jake peace in knowing that their mother is safe in heaven. I hope that you can find comfort through your many fond and happy memories of your Mom. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Posted by Deanna Roy September 16, 08 09:04 PM
  1. Gena, your presence will be missed in the NWH US Department. I recall our sharing jokes in the reading room, our fun lunches outside and walks around the hospital to work off our chocolate cookies! I will miss you girlie! May your memory live on to inspire others. God bless you and your children. Luv ya

    Posted by Diana Kontorakis September 16, 08 10:23 PM
  1. I only worked with Gena once, but was touched by her devotion to her children and incredibly supportive friends. What a tragedy for you all.
    And what an incredible last act for Gena, saving her 2 girls. She surely must be in peace.

    Posted by Peggy Kennedy September 16, 08 10:24 PM
  1. Our thoughts are prayers are held deeply in our hearts for Jake, Jordan and Kendal. We hope you can remember all the good times you had with your mom, she surely wants you to smile as you hold her memories close to you all. As I have read from books about their experience, Heaven is a beautiful place, full of joy, music and those people in your life that have inspired you and gave you strength. We hope it may give you some peace knowing your mom is in such a glorious place.

    Posted by Jill and Eric Sublett & family September 17, 08 12:09 AM
  1. The last time I saw Gena was at the gym. She seemed so happy and content with her move to Lexington and her new life that she made for herself. I admired Gena so much for her fighting spirit. Although I did not know her very well I feel that world along with her children have lost truly a special person. Gena I know is in a better place. Although she died very young, she made truly an impact on those who knew and loved her. Gena's last act was heroic like the way she lived her life. God bless you Gena, and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family...

    Posted by Dorothy O'Connor September 17, 08 09:07 AM
  1. Jake, Kendal, Jordan..
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your Mom was a very special person and a wonderful mother. She was so proud of each of you and loved you unconditionally. Her devotion as a mother was one of the things I admired most
    about her. I can only imagine how much you must miss her, but be assured she is looking down from heaven and sending you the love and strength you will need to get through these tough times.
    For those who truly loved you and those you truly loved, we will never forget the kind, loving, giving, and most important, unselfish person you always were. You
    showed this in the last moments of your life. You are a hero!
    I will miss you terribly and can't imagine the world with out you in it. The world has lost a loving mother and true friend. Heaven has gained one.

    Posted by Alison DiCienzo September 17, 08 11:55 AM
  1. We were so saddened to hear about Gena and, forever, will remember her smile.

    Posted by Ruth, Robert & Chris Looney September 17, 08 02:50 PM
  1. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire family. Especially Jake, Kendal and Jordan.

    Posted by Dan Boudreau September 17, 08 08:24 PM
  1. Jake,
    I am sorry to hear about your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Posted by Bobby Corcoran September 17, 08 08:47 PM
  1. We miss your smiling face at NWH. You brought us happiness and laughter everyday. We're blessed to have had the gift of Gena Brown in our presence. We'll celebrate the great life you led always.

    Posted by Kellie Hamilton September 19, 08 07:50 AM
  1. Gina was a wonderful person. She did a lot for me over the years and I spent much of my teenage years caring for her children. If there is one word to describe Gena, it would be a hero. True to her word, she will never be forgotten. God bless you Jake, Kendall, and Jordan.

    Posted by Margo Conley September 24, 08 03:24 PM
  1. Gena always knew how to turn a kids frown into a smile. Instead of hanging with the adults she would rather hang with the kids making sure they were happy. She was one of the girls. She was a beautiful person inside and out. Kids always came first. She was born to be a mother. She was born to make sure everyone was happy.She was born a hero. KIDS KIDS KIDS KIDS KIDS KIDS!!!!!!!!! that was the number one thing that ran through her head. Though her death is very very sad, it puts a smile across my face knowing that she saved Kendal and Jordan. You are very brave Gena,Kendal,and Jordan.I love you Gena, and I know you are resting in piece wherever you may be.

    Posted by MSF October 19, 08 03:47 PM
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