Gaye Robinson Brown
September 21, 1938 - January 17, 2023
Eleanor "Gaye" Robinson Brown passed away peacefully on January 17th, 2023, at The Heritage at Lowman in Chapin South Carolina.
Gaye was born in Roanoke, Va. on September 21st, 1938, to Nelson Warren Robinson and Francis Cloyd Robinson. The family moved to Strasburg Va. and operated the Hotel Strasburg from the mid-1940s until 1963. Gaye graduated from Strasburg High School in 1956 and enjoyed an amazing trip through Europe that summer. Gaye attended William and Mary College, graduating in 1960 with a degree in Economics. She was a proud Kappa Alpha Theta sister and very involved in campus life.
Gaye began a retail career following college and worked for several prominent retailers including The Hecht Company in Washington, D.C., Jordan Marsh in Boston, Ma., and Lord and Taylor in Falls Church Va. She started as a buyer and management trainee and continued to become a division manager with a staff of 30.
While in Washington Gaye met another department store manager, Robert "Bob" D. Spencer, who she married. During their time in Washington, Bob and Gaye became active in the civil rights movement and were there during some of the most important events of the late 1960s and early 1970s. They brought into the world two sons, Robert Christopher, and James Andrew. Bob went into the ministry and the family moved to Sumter SC. Bob and Gaye later divorced.
Gaye returned to the work force in 1974 as the director of Mother's Pajamas Counseling and Referral Service. She continued with social work, eventually earning a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina in 1984. Her career took her from the Sumter Co. Department of Social Services to the Office of the Governor, CETA Division, as a planner and analyst. Gaye finished her career as a social worker, with the Lowman Home in Chapin SC.
Gaye met the love of her life while still in Sumter; Maj. Perry Walker Brown, (Ret.). They were married on April 20th, 1985. Perry had four children from his previous marriage: Debi Gillespie, Perry W. Brown Jr., Anne Leaphart, and Shari McKissick. Gaye and Perry had thirty-five years together before his passing in August of 2020.
Gaye enjoyed visiting with her grandchildren, trips to the beach and mountains, needlepoint, watching hummingbirds and cardinals, evening cruises on Lake Murray, and keeping in touch with friends from Strasburg and William and Mary. She was a member of several organizations including the League of Women Voters, the Fancy Ladies Hat Club of Chapin, Kappa Alpha Theta, and several professional and service organizations.
Gaye was preceded in death by her husband of 35 years, Maj. Perry Walker Brown; brother, James Miller Robinson, and her parents, Nelson and Francis Robinson. Gaye is survived by her sons, Rob Spencer (Ellen) and James Barrett-Spencer (Tiffany); Grandchildren, Abbie Hollingsworth (Dale), Jordane Hansen (Sean), Alex Spencer, and Kindal Spencer; three nieces and a nephew.
Gaye will be honored with a celebration of life at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the Strasburg United Methodist Church, Strasburg, VA with Rev. John Haynes, Jr. officiating.
In lieu of flowers please consider a contribution to Lutheran Hospice, Chapin S.C., The Alzheimer's Foundation, or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
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