Mother of 9 kept open door, open kitchen
In the city's Lawrenceville neighborhood, Mary Jane Brown was considered one of her bank's premier customers, a caring mother who maintained a loan account that she continued to renew during the years she was educating her nine children.
“When we all reached 16, we were expected to find a job to help pay for the tuition needed for educating an older brother or sister, who were also attending Catholic schools,” said her daughter, Lynne Gratter of Lawrenceville.
Mary Jane Belleno Brown of Lawrenceville died on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in UPMC Shadyside. She was 77.
“Throughout her life, my mother had a strong work ethic which she passed down to her children that included paying their bills,” her daughter said. “She was often quoted as saying, ‘If you want something and don't have the money, you work for it.' ”
Mary Jane Belleno was raised in Lawrenceville, the daughter of limousine driver Henry Belleno and his wife, Margaret.
She attended St. John the Baptist Grade School in Lawrenceville and in 1952, at 16, she married Robert Brown, who spent 44 years working for the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. in Lawrenceville.
Her daughter recalled how the people in Lawrenceville considered her mother a matriarch who ran her own version of a soup kitchen in her home.
“The door of our house was always open for anyone who needed a hot meal or advice on any problem they might be experiencing,” her daughter said. “My mother also used her cooking skills in fundraising for St. Stanislaus Church in the Strip. She'd leave her home on Mondays and spend an entire day making the pierogies that the church would sell that Saturday as a fundraiser.”
Mrs. Brown's niece, Joann Cantrell of Cranberry, described her aunt in an article she wrote for a trade magazine. “Aunt Mary Jane taught her children early to find humor to get through the rough times.
“To these days, being in the presence of my cousins for only a few minutes can cause even the most serious to break into laughter,” her niece said.
In addition to her daughter, Lynne, Mrs. Brown is survived by her children, Robert J. Jr., Muffin Peluso and LuLu Martin, all of Lawrenceville, Ronald of Hampton, Rege of Oakmont, Rick of Plum, Lisa Brown Rohr of Florida.; 21 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Brown was preceded in death by her husband, Robert J. Brown, in 2000, and a son, Raymond Brown.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Stanislaus.
Arrangements by Walter J. Zalewski Funeral Home in Lawrenceville.
Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Two dead in apparent murder-suicide in North Oakland
- Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
- 3 in Westmoreland charged in prescription narcotics operation
- District attorney rejects polygraph deal in molestation case
- Normally tight-lippped Marshawn Lynch fires back at critics
- Pitt’s 2015 schedule includes 5 road games in 1st 7 games
- Kennametal plans plant closings, job cuts; fallout from oil and gas decline
- Highmark members to keep maternity care at Magee in 2015
- San Francisco blaze kills Mission District resident
- Chase Elliott to replace retiring Gordon in No. 24 car
- Homeland chief says cuts over immigration puts U.S. at risk