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Brown, known for MLK services, dies

Jewel Pearl Brown, one of the women behind the annual Martin Luther King Jr. services in Corydon, died Sunday, June 19, 2016. She was 74.
‘She was a brave person,’ recalled Patricia (Trish) Beddoe of Corydon, who worked with Brown on the MLK services. ‘It didn’t matter the surroundings. … She also valued every person and brought a lot of diversity to the community.’
Beddoe said she first met Brown when both women were wanting to start an ecumenical service for the slain King. Since then, there have been 30 services at various churches in and near Corydon.
‘She told me we’re going to have to (host these services) together until we die,’ said Beddoe, adding that she didn’t realize Brown’s health had deteriorated. ‘I knew her eyes were a problem.’
Brown was known for going to rehabilitation centers and senior citizen functions to feed, sing, recite poetry and help care for residents. She often told others that she did not want to be put on a pedestal. Instead, she said, ‘Just give God the glory and say it was an anonymous gift.’
The Martin Luther King Jr. tributes were a favorite time of year because it gave her the opportunity to tell everyone of love.
In writing her obituary before her death, Brown wrote, ‘Let no man write my epitaph! Lord, I’ve tried to be a good soldier in the army! I’ve really tried. Now I’m going home to be with my Lord.’
Beddoe recalled that Brown was faithful to her church, St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Corydon, which she joined in 1965. Brown served as the church’s pianist, choir director, young people’s choir president, pastor’s aide, building fund president, secretary, pastor’s steward, trustee, interdenominational choir president, church historian, lay organization president, in addition to the church’s representative for the MLK service.
‘She also was very dedicated to other organizations she belonged to,’ Beddoe said.
That include Community Unity, which Brown helped organize, and the Gerdon Youth Center in Corydon.
Beddoe hopes the annual Martin Luther King Jr. tributes will continue but credited Brown with bringing together the ‘wonderful singing groups’ and those who recited poetry at the services.
‘In the early years, some of them felt threatened to come to Southern Indiana,’ Beddoe said. ‘However, because of Jewell, they felt less threatened.’
‘She was an asset to our community,’ she said.
Brown’s funeral was Saturday at Corydon Christian Church Disciples of Christ, also a site for past MLK services. She was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery. Beanblossom-Cesar Funeral Home in Corydon handled arrangements.