Lenna Irene Mahanay Brown

  • Birth 7 Jul 1893 Alvarado, Johnson County, Texas, USA
  • Death 29 Jan 1997 Cleburne, Johnson County, Texas, USA
  • Burial Alvarado, Johnson County, Texas, USA
  • Memorial ID 70367290

==== ღ☃ღ GREAT GREAT AUNT ღ☃ღ ====

Lenna M. Brown

ALVARADO -- Lenna M. Brown, 103, a retired beautician, died Wednesday, Jan. 29, 1997, at a Cleburne nursing home.

Funeral: 10:30 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of Alvarado. Burial: Glenwood Cemetery.

Mrs. Lenna M. Brown was born July 7, 1893, and was a lifelong resident of Alvarado.

Clayton Kay Funeral Home
Alvarado, (817) 783-3062

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Jan. 31, 1997

The following is a tribute I wrote to my aunt Lenna Brown when she passed away in 1997. It was in the Alvarado Post.

Tribute to Lenna Mahanay Brown

Lenna Irene Mahanay Brown, born July 7, 1893, died January 29, 1997, at the age of 103. When you think of all the changes someone who lives to be over one hundred it is amazing and sort of mind boggling. She went from horse and buggy to automobiles. She saw or may have been one of the first women to vote. And the list goes on. She was never one to dwell on the past. As a genealogist I loved to talk to her, but she was always more happy to talk currant affairs with you, not the past.

Lenna was the oldest daughter of Millard F. Mahanay and his second wife Melisa Florence (Bridges) Mahanay. She was born in the farming community called Prairie Valley, between Alvarado and Venus, TX and lived her childhood days on a farm. Surrounded by a large family she had a deep affection for all of her siblings, but especially her younger sister, Beunah. In the early 1900's the family moved to town in Alvarado.

I don't suppose Lenna ever left Alvarado other than maybe a few visits to Missouri where her mothers family resided, until she reached college age. During those years very few women even attended college, but her father was always one who supported education and I'm sure he encouraged to go. Her studies were in the musical field and had she not had to end her dreams of college and return home to care for her dying mother and younger sister, she might have had a very successful career in music. Even though she did not have a career in music she taught piano lesson for many years, played piano at the First Baptist Church for over 40 years. She would play for her Sunday School class and a club that was called the Fun and Fellowship Club. She loved music and had stacks of sheet music among her belongings.

Sadly the last six months of her life were spent in a nursing home. She had lived alone up until the time she broke her hip for the third time. Sadly she outlived all of her family. My dad, who was a great nephew and my mother cared for her for her for many years. This want' always an easy job because she was fiercely independent something she didn't mind reminding them.

On September 1, 1925 she married Charles Brown, a barber in Alvarado. He owned a barber shop on the downtown square. The two of them never had children, but had many, many nieces and nephews. Lenna came from a big family of half brothers and two sisters.

She was the oldest living member of the First Baptist Church. She joined in November 1906. Always faithful to the church up until the end.

She was a member of the Eastern Stars for 77 years. And served as a past Worthy Matron. I can vividly recall her and her sister Beunah dressing in their formal ware to attend a social function in Cleburne for the Eastern Star. She drove to Cleburne as long as she was able. We lived next door to her in the 1980's and my son, who was a little guy saw the two aunts leave one evening and the next morning he told us that Aunt Lenna and Aunt Beunah had stayed out all night long. He had gone to bed long before they returned home. They were quite amused when they heard the story.

A wonderful sense of humor was something that Aunt Lenna always had. She never minded having a good laugh at herself. Especially when it had to do with her hair. She often got her hair cut very short and then got a permanent. She would get a big laugh out of how funny she looked and called herself a poodle.

Lenna profession was a Beauty Operator. She worked in this field for over 50 years, selling out her shop in 1970. After she married Charles Brown she went to beauty school and got a license as a beauty operator. Mr and Mrs. Brown combined their talents and ran Brown's Beauty and Barber Shop. The barber shop stayed in the front where it had been for many, many years and the beauty parlor was in the back. Many times people could recall their experience at her beauty shop when they went for a permanent or have their hair cut. She used an old fashioned machine they called a croquignole, it had long wires that had metal rollers were attached to the ends. They heated and often times if left unattended the customers ended up with burnt hair or a burned scalp.

Lenna hated to give up the profession totally, and she was often seen at the nursing home curing someones hair. So many of these customers preferred to have her curl their hair with bobby pins. Some of these ladies were friends and some were former customer and some where just ladies that wanted to have their hair done. So many of her customers remembered her 50 cent permanents in the early days of her business.

In the days when women loved to entertain she and her many friends played bridge. They were big on playing cards of all sorts at each others homes. I guess this was a much of a social life as you could have in a small town.

She was never idle and another of her many amazing accomplishments was the fact she loved to bake cakes. If there was a birthday she made a cake. Her specialty was her angle food cake made from scratch. There were many months she made at least one cake a day. She took many of them to friends in the nursing home. She was a great cook, but always loved to say "if you can't eat it, throw it out." After she stopped driving she would call and tell us to come and get the cake she made. If you got away from her after an hour you were lucky. She would not let you leave without having something to drink or eat. Her first words to one of the new preachers was "we're going to fatten you up", he said she was never able to actually do that, but she tried.

One of her biggest disappointments was when she had to stop driving. Her eyesight had gotten very bad. She let her car set up for about 5 years and the year she turned 100 she decided she was going to renew her drivers license. She had my dad put on new tires and a new battery in her car. Then another nephew took her to get her license renewed. Of course she failed the eye test, her eyes were so bad. She was so mad she just could not and would not accept she had failed the test. She told the lady at TDPS that she would just drive anyway. The lady said, "oh no you won't Mrs. Brown" and cut her old license in half. She never forgave them for that. But finally accepted the fact she could not drive ever again. Sadly she had to quit reading altogether and she had been an faithful reader of the local newspaper and several others papers and her bible. She was so very sad when she could not read or sew. So her last few years were just spent visiting and watching television. She managed to stay up with currant affairs and had a very, very sharp mind up until the end. Her body failed but her mind was sharp.

Although she was the oldest person in Alvarado she would not ever tell her age. That was something she liked to keep as her secret. Many of her closest friends did not know her exact age. When she turned 100 people who knew wanted to throw her a big party, but she would not hear of it. She stuck with keeping her age a secret up until the very end. I suppose that is something that many women have done over the years. It was amusing to see how far she would go to keep her age a secret.

She was an amazing woman and my house is filled with her wonderful antiques. I think of her often as I look around at all of them. And remember her amazing life. I'm very proud to have been able to call her my aunt, and I will always miss her charm and wit.

Bio by: Beverly Mahanay~Short❤

Family Members





  • Maintained by: Beverly Mahanay~Short❤
  • Originally Created by: Kat
  • Added: 25 May 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 70367290
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lenna Irene Mahanay Brown (7 Jul 1893–29 Jan 1997), Find A Grave Memorial no. 70367290, citing Glenwood Cemetery, Alvarado, Johnson County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Beverly Mahanay~Short❤ (contributor 47149599) .