Published: The Chester County Hospital Foundation Donor Report FY2011
As we go through our lives and think of how things will be when we are gone, we may begin to think about our legacy or how we will be remembered. Caroline Brown is remembered through her family and friends - the people she interacted with and impacted on a daily basis. The way she lived her life and the example she set - not just for her family and children, but for her friends - created a legacy.
Caroline, affectionately known as "Cookie" to her family and many friends, may not have had this idea of a legacy during her life, but she lived a life that touched countless people and influenced many more. As a young mother raising her three daughters with her husband Jerry in Unionville, PA Cookie exemplified a life well lived. An accomplished equestrian, she began riding at three years old and rode almost every day until the last year of her life. It was through her love of riding that she met and became good friends with Gay Robinson, a fellow Master of Foxhounds and wife of James K. Robinson, Jr., who at that time was Chairman of Chester County Hospital. During the 1980s, Cookie was already very civic-minded and understood the importance of supporting the community of which she was a part. Very few charitable organizations were turned away, as Cookie's generosity and sense of civic responsibility led her to support twenty or so local organizations every year. But as her philanthropic focus developed, she became more interested in an organization her friend Gay had introduced her to -- Chester County Hospital in West Chester, PA.
A great believer in community hospitals, Cookie never did like the impersonal, institutional feel of some of the larger hospitals. She understood the importance of having a high-quality hospital in her community and enjoyed the neighborly quality she felt at Chester County Hospital. Cookie began supporting the Hospital in the early 1980s, and as the years went by, her connection began to grow stronger. Cookie grew from a supporter of the Hospital to a leader and champion of the Hospital. As a member of the Friends of the CardioVascular Center, Cookie led efforts to build philanthropic support for the program and raise awareness of what was available to her neighbors in their own backyard. And as an individual who had a generous spirit and caring heart for people from all walks of life, she was a natural fit as a member of Chester County Hospital Foundation's Board of Trustees.
It is hard to imagine that Cookie had the time for all of her interests. She volunteered at the Kennett Library Adult Literacy Program for over a decade, and her involvement lives on through Jerry, who now teaches in the program. As a businesswoman, she helped to manage her family's timber farm in Alabama. And if you were ever in Greensboro, Vermont, you may have seen Cookie passing a waffle cone through the window of the ice cream shop she ran with Jerry.
Cookie's legacy as a great friend and mother was assured a long time ago. With her easy, friendly personality and warm heart, she was the type of person who is instantly likeable, the kind of friend everybody wants to have, someone who truly cared for others. As a philanthropist, Cookie ensured, through the inclusion of Chester County Hospital in her estate plans that her legacy within the community and connection to the Hospital would last for years to come.