Beulah Fae Davis Brown, 98 years young, passed from this life into eternity on Friday, June 4, 2021 at her home surrounded by family. She was a wonderful daughter, devoted wife, beloved sister, precious mother, loving grandmother and great-grandmother, cherished aunt, and a loyal friend to many.
Her service of celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at Unity Baptist Church, Vandalia (Route 185). Interment will precede the service at 10 a.m. at Fairlawn Cemetery, Vandalia. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, June 7, 2021 at Hohlt and File Funeral Home, Vandalia. Memorials may be made to Evans Library, Fayette County Hospital Auxiliary, Fayette County Hospital Long Term Care, Unity Baptist Church, Summer Lunch Program or a charity of choice. Online condolences can be expressed at www.hohltandfilefh.com.
Beulah, the third of six children born to Charles Edgar and Mary Perring Davis, was born on March 21, 1923 at the family farm home six miles west of Effingham. She received her education at Defiance School, a one-room schoolhouse with eight grades, Effingham High School, and Eastern Illinois University.
She first taught at McCoy School, a one-room country school with eight grades and then moved to Vandalia in 1943 to teach third grade at Washington School. It was in Vandalia that she met W. David Brown and they married on June 9, 1946. She was a wonderful support to Dave in his careers as Farm Loan Manager at First National Bank of Vandalia, as owner of Brown Implement Company in Brownstown, as an owner of farms, as chief deputy and then sheriff of Fayette County, and as an employee for the State of Illinois at Vandalia State Farm. He passed unexpectedly on October 11, 1970.
Nothing except her faith in Jesus Christ was more important to Beulah than her family, whom she considered precious. She continued teaching until their first daughter, Mary Beth, was born in 1949 and then stayed home with Beth and their second daughter, Cynthia Lee, born three years later.
She returned to teaching in 1957 in the kindergarten classroom at Lincoln School and helped hundreds of students begin their education until she retired from that position in May, 1986. She believed that every child was special and that every child could learn. She felt it was her responsibility and honor to help each and every child realize that education – even in kindergarten – was the window to a life of learning and opportunity.
She herself was a life-long learner and always had knowledge and wisdom to share with her family. She was never happier than she was when she was spending time with family or helping someone else.
Beulah remained an active resident of Vandalia through her involvement in community activities including Unity Baptist Church (formerly First Baptist), Fayette County Hospital Auxiliary, Evergreen Outreach, reading with students at school, Evans Library, Fayette County Cancer Fund, Senior Citizens, Golden Circle Nutrition, Habitat for Humanity Resale Shop, and several others. She faced challenges with grace and determination, believing that attitude was every bit as important as ability.
She was honored to have received the Soroptimist Ruby Award for Women Helping Women and the Abe Award from the Chamber of Commerce in 1991. It humbled her to be chosen as the Grand Marshall of the Vandalia Bicentennial parade in 2019.
Beulah loved traveling. She had visited all 50 states, several European countries, and Israel. When mobility made it difficult to travel in person, she loved reading and learning about places she would have loved to visit.
She was predeceased by her parents, her husband, David, her daughter Beth Brown Gilliland (1990), her five siblings and two of their spouses: Noble, Millie Hall (Ray,) Ken, Warren, and Phil (Liz) and her half-sister and husband, Mamie Davis Parks (Fred.).
She is survived by her daughter Cindy Brown Harding (Steve) of North Richland Hills, TX and her four grandsons: David Harding (Katie Leicht) of Austin, TX, Joshua Harding (Ashley and their 3 sons Caiden, Landen, and Jaxton) of Keller, TX, John C. Gilliland III of Desert Hot Springs, CA, and David Gilliland (Noreen and their two sons Ethan and Henry) of Carmel, IN. Other survivors include her sister-in-law Ruth Davis of Fort Myers, FL, and nieces and nephews on both the Davis and Brown sides of her family.
She died as she lived, with strength, faith, grace, and dignity. Her family is thankful for the wonderful woman she was, grateful for her long life, and blessed to be her legacy.