By Cesareo Contreras
Edith Brown, a former Sodexo employee, died Saturday, Oct. 7. She was 96.
Brown started her career at FSU in 1987 and remained on the job until she retired last semester. In April, the the Dining Commons celebrated her 30th year at the University, according to Ralph Eddy, director of dining services.
Eddy said Brown always put students first.
“Whether she was serving on the line, whether she was swiping cards or helping out at other stations – she always ensured that she was front and center with students,” he said.
FSU alumna Amanda Lukowski said Brown was the “queen of the lunch room.” She recalled Brown making a lasting impression when she toured the campus in 2008.
“The first time I saw her, I couldn’t help but giggle,” she said. “She had her leopard print fleece hand warmers on because it was colder that day. She was swiping her cards and singing her little jingle as she would swipe.”
According to Lukowski, Brown “always greeted you with a smile.”
She added, “Even if you were having a really bad day, even if Edith was having a really bad day, she would always greet you. ... She considered everyone on that campus one of her grandkids and she looked out for people. If you forgot your card, she would always make sure someone else could swipe you in.”
In 2009, a Facebook page was created in Brown’s honor – today, it has over 1,000 likes and followers.
The page’s creator, who graduated FSU in 2013, said they were “enthralled by this amazing woman’s spirit and attitude, and how she could bring so much joy to one’s day with a simple ‘Hello, dear.’ I decided that Edith deserved a little Facebook fame, and I was amazed at the immediate and overwhelming response to the page and how quickly it took off.”
According to Brown’s granddaughter, Amy Brown Rapoza, one of Brown’s proudest moments at FSU was receiving a president’s award during the 2012 commencement ceremony. At the time, Brown had recently celebrated her 25th year at Framingham State.
Brown Rapoza said, “It was [in] that moment that we realized, it wasn’t just Grammie that adored and needed these college kids, but they also felt the same about her. As they presented the award to her, the graduating class started chanting ‘Edith, Edith, Edith,’ then one kid screamed above all, ‘WE LOVE YOU EDITH!’ It was such a proud moment for us to witness.”
She said, “She loved life, her family and more than anything, she adored ‘her kids’ at the college. They are the reason she lived to be 96 years old. They gave her the focus and drive to keep going. She looked forward to her conversations, giving them advice – whether they wanted it or not – and every holiday, so she could dress up and make them smile.”
Brown is survived by five children, 15 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.