River Forest names street after longtime Hephzibah director

Mary Anne Brown served for four decades, oversaw expansion

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By Thomas Vogel

Staff Reporter

The River Forest Village Board on July 10 unanimously adopted a resolution to honor Mary Anne Brown's service as executive director of Hephzibah Children's Association. Brown retired at the end of June after leading the organization for four decades.

The 7500 block of Lake Street will now have the honorary distinction of being "Mary Anne Brown Way."

Brown, who has degrees from the University of Iowa and Clark College, began serving as executive director of Hephzibah in 1976. Under her leadership, Hephzibah grew from a center with an annual budget of $100,000 to an agency with annual budget of about $9 million. Hephzibah operates group and foster homes, centers for abused children, after school programs, family counseling and summer daycare programs. 

"I love this village," said Brown, a River Forest resident. "I've enjoyed my 40 years of service here. I'm five days into retirement and I'm not sure what I'm going to do. If you see me walking around, always ask me to help out with something."

This latest honor aside, throughout her career Brown has received numerous accolades including a service award from the Illinois Humane Society in 2002.

"During her tenure, Hephzibah became known as the home with a heart," River Forest Village President Catherine Adduci said, reading from the resolution. "And numerous specialized programs were initiated."

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Christine Vernon  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 5:39 PM

I never had the privilege to meet Mary Anne Brown but you don't have to have met her to recognize her name and the respect she has earned over all these years with her work at Hephzibah. She is the OPRF equivalent of Sister Rosemary at Misercordia, incredible women who have devoted their lives to improving the lives of children who need a support. God bless them both abundantly. Thank you both for the inspiration of your lives and work!

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