|Birth: ||Nov. 24, 1917|
|Death: ||Sep. 14, 2005|
Mary Gale "Polly" Brown was born in Jacksonville, Florida. Polly's mother was Zara Cully Brown, an elocution teacher from Worcester, Massachusetts, who later gained notoriety as the character, Mother Jefferson, on the hit TV 70's sitcom, "The Jeffersons." Her father, James M. Brown, was a skilled house painter and decorator and brewed the best peach wine this side of the Rockies.
Polly had two brothers, Jimmy, who was older than and Emerson, who was the youngest. Both are deceased.
Polly demonstrated her many creative talents quite early in life. Her idol was modern dance guru, Martha Graham. She attended Hampton Institute in Virginia and later, graduated from Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1941, where she studied English, dance and fine arts. While there, she met lifelong friends Malissa Kilgore Briley and Glenna Hayes.
After graduating, Miss Mary Gale Brown accepted a teaching position at Fessenden Academy in Martin, Florida. Fessenden was a highly successful experimental private high school for Black students. The handsome John Allen Buggs, who was the school's director, met Mary Gale at the train station. He was bowled over at the sight of the winsome Polly. He remarked to himself, "I'm going to marry that girl someday." And he did.
Polly and John were married on February 28, 1943. They lived on campus while Polly continued to teach dance, English and history. Polly's dance troupe gave recitals and was filmed performing to London Derriere/Danny Boy. Polly gave birth to two daughters, Zara Gale and Diane Dorinda. Polly would sometimes recount how she was in labor for three days with her firstborn- a forceps delivery- without the benefit of any anesthesia.
In 1951, Polly and her family relocated to Los Angeles, California. Polly landed a teaching position in Pasadena at Washington Junior High School. She commuted to Pasadena daily until the family moved there in 1957. "Mrs. Buggs" soon earned a reputation as a "hard" teacher. In addition to English and Social Studies, she taught Speech and Drama and directed the annual student play.
In 1967, Polly retired from teaching and followed her husband to Washington, D.D. where John received a Presidential appointment. They built a house in suburban Maryland. She was quite nervous about leaving California to live in a "cow pasture" as she used to refer to the town of Wheaten. It actually was a cow pasture before it was developed. Undaunted, Polly turned her artistic talents to her new home and garden. Her home decorating skills were even featured in an edition of The Washingtonian Magazine in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Polly loved Asian inspired design, which was reflected throughout her home.
After John's stroke in 1978, Polly tended to his every need. Eventually, John became a resident in a Los Angeles Alzheimer's facility. Polly, whose own health took a downturn, went to live with her youngest daughter, Diane, and her husband, Robbie, in Laurel Maryland, where she remained until John's death in 1995. She traveled to California for the funeral and remained there with Zara Gale and her husband, Butch for about two years. She always loved the California lifestyle, but nevertheless returned to Laurel.
After a fall resulting in a serious injury to her right hand and shoulder, Polly was hospitalized and then went to a Laurel Rehab center and nursing home in July 2004. While there, she made new friends and won many admirers- that ole' Polly charm was still working!
Polly chose the time and manner of her transition to the afterlife. Her will was always very strong and she wanted to join her beloved John at last. Through the magic of web cam technology, her family in Los Angeles and Atlanta was able to be present during her passing and to say their goodbyes.
As she listend to the soft strains of Eva Cassidy's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", Polly's spirit took flight to join her John at 3:08 EDT.
Polly is survived by her daughters, Zara Buggs Taylor and Diane D. Dix; grandsons Robbie John Dix and William Roscoe Taylor IV. New granddaughter in law Cherissa Acosta Taylor; and a host of family and friends.
James M. Brown (1888 - 1968)
Zara Cully (1892 - 1978)
John Allen Buggs (1915 - 1995)
Zara Gale Buggs Taylor (1946 - 2005)*
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Los Angeles County
Plot: Freedom Mausoleum, Columbarium of Understanding, Niche 36588
Created by: The Root Digger: Yvette ...
Record added: Apr 19, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26138323