Visitation with the family was Monday, October 7, 2013, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Tuesday at 10 a.m. prior to the 11 a.m. Celebration of Life services at Ray Funeral Home.
Jane was the beloved first-born to Evelyn Ruth (Ohl) and Curtis Brown Jr. Being the eldest of six, she possessed qualities that served her well in her 82 years: maturity, sound judgment, honesty, generosity, and an unparalleled work ethic. Jane was also the pride and joy of her paternal grandfather, Curtis Brown Sr. “Grandpa” spoiled her with her very own pony and riding gear, probably beginning her lifelong love affair with animals.
Always the entrepreneur, at age 10 she made ham sandwiches and sold them at lunch time to the cotton gin workers. She was also the stunning “Jackie Kennedy look-alike” teller at the Cleveland State Bank of Main Street in her early years.
Jane met the love of her life, Paul “Mr. Paul” Clements over a lunch break with a mutual friend on September 2, 1952, at Bob’s Drive-in. Their first date was the very next day. The couple soon officially became “Jane and Paul” at the First Baptist Church in Cleveland on April 14, 1953.
The couple opened their first business, Top Dollar Store, on Cotton Row in the early ’60s. As their business grew, so did the need for more space, prompting a move to Paul’s Mart on Highway 61. They worked as partners and soul mates, sharing a strong work ethic, building a successful business, and turned customers into friends. Known to many as “Miss Jane” or “Ms. Paul,” she was most proud to be known simply as “friend.”
Jane had a beautiful penmanship, loved to paint and was artistic as a young girl, traveling by train weekly to Greenville with her little sister, Ann, to take painting lessons. She was also an animal lover, and had a special place in her heart for strays that just seemed to show up-and stay. Her life was well shared with many, many dogs and cats. She leaves behind two terrier sisters she lovingly referred to as “the girls.”
Caring for her parents and husband during their lengthy illnesses was important to her, and her take charge attitude served her well. She loved her family, extended family, and those who walked through her doors and became “Family.” Jane was also a mentor to many young people, teaching them the business, but, even more importantly, numerous life lessons. She valued loyalty, honesty, and the rewards of hard work. She enjoyed eating out, rarely said no to ice cream or chocolate, and loved to shop for herself as well as for others.
“Miss Jane” was an icon at her store, but she was a treasured human being to many.
She leaves behind siblings Curtis Brown III of Little Rock, Ark.; Evelyn Ann Brown Webber of Overland Park, Kan.; John Wm. Brown (Jan), James O. Brown, and Thomas R. Brown (Donna), all of Cleveland; nieces Laurie Brown Smith of Little Rock , Ark.; Melissa Webber Edman of Overland Park, Kan.; Shannon Brown Sigafoos of New Orleans, La.; and Elizabeth “Ellie” Brown of Memphis, Tenn.; nephews Curtis Brown IV of Seattle, Wash.; William Brown Webber of Kansas City, Kan.; Mike Webber of Austin, Texas; Chris Brown of Oxford; Jonathan Brown and Judson Brown of Cleveland; and Rob Brown of Cleveland.
Two very special friends who touched her life are the late Emma “Mimi” Champion and Becky Sheedy (Johnny), both of Cleveland. Mimi introduced her to opera, eating out and all things sparkly and feminine. Becky came to work for Paul’s Mart 39 years ago and became part of her family, sharing life and work together. The family wishes to thank her for her many kindnesses through the years. Jane, also, held dear her other two long-time employees, Ruby Mullins and Julie Mei.
Pallbearers were Chris Brown, Jonathan Brown, Judson Brown, Rob Brown, Spencer Edman, and John Brown. Honorary pallbearer was Johnny Sheedy.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Pawprints Rescue of Cleveland, the Cleveland-Bolivar County Animal Shelter, or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
To view and sign online guestbook, go firstname.lastname@example.org