Thelma Altha Unthank Brown died on May 29 after an extended illness. She was 69.
Thelma was born in Portland on March 16, 1940 to Dr. DeNorval Unthank and Thelma Unthank.
She graduated from Grant High School in 1958 and attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Oregon State University and Portland State University, finishing with a Masters of Administrative Education degree.
She married Wendell Brown after returning from Spelman College. To this union, three daughters were born – Marsha, Lisa and Wendi.
She inspired many youth and adults during her time as an educator for Portland Public Schools. She began a 30-year tenure with Portland Public in 1968, serving in the Head Start Program, teaching at Eliot Early Childhood Education Center and Bridlemile School and served as administrator at Rice, Humboldt, Madison and Benson schools.
In 1984 she was appointed to the Oregon Block Grants Commission and in 1997, she was honored by McDonald's corporation as Oregon Vice Principal of the year. She was also a member of St. Phillip's Episcopal Church, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Education Association, National Black Educators , National Association of Elementary Principals, Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators and COSA. She also mentored young women and was involved in the Rose Festival Association.
Thelma is survived by her three daughters, Marsha Brown Jordan, Lisa Brown Evans, Wendi Brown; a niece, Chelsea Unthank Moore; brothers Thomas Unthank, James Unthank; a sister, Lesley Unthank; and grandchildren Andre Unthank and Savannah Torrance.
A Celebration of Life was held at St. Phillip's the Deacon Episcopal Church on June 15.
In lieu of flower donations, please make donations to the Thelma Unthank-Brown Scholarship at the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., P.O. Box 4265, Portland, OR 97208, or call Piedmont Rose Scholarship Connection at 503-285-2061.
Contributions can also be made to OSHU Layton Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Center at 503-229-1730.