Maurie Staunton McClees-Brown quietly and peacefully passed away on August 29 at Brookdale Senior Living in Carlsbad, California. She was 84 and had become increasingly cognitively disabled with dementia. Maurie is predeceased by husband John Fiske Brown who passed away in 2003. She is survived by her four children Peter, Craig, Jeff, Heather and many grandchildren.
Maurie was born in Norwalk Connecticut February 6, 1932 to parents John Van Iderstine McClees and Marie Staunton Wood. As a young girl, she grew up in Short Beach, Connecticut – always on the beach and in, and on, the water. The ocean was her first love, her muse, her great escape and always held a special place in her life. Maurie graduated from Branford High School in 1949 and went on to graduate with Honors from Pratt Institute in New York City. She began her art career as an illustrator of children’s books.
She married John Fiske Brown in Branford on May 12, 1951. In 1957, Maurie and John moved their young family to San Diego, California – eventually settling in Del Mar. The beauty of southern California had an immediate impact on Maurie and she soon became an established Del Mar artist. Water colors were her medium – the Pacific Ocean and natural landscape, her favorite subject. Maurie painted the California coast from San Diego to Big Sur from 1957 until she was no longer able. She always seemed to find something new and exciting about it. In between raising a family and painting, Maurie found time to be a Red Cross Swim Director, Chairman of the San Diego Artist Guild, an active environmentalist (long before it was popular), an art director at KPBS San Diego, a docent at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and a tireless advocate of preserving the natural beauty of California. A free spirit always… Her mantra was “Don’t Fence Me In.” God bless you and keep you Mom. We miss you.
Donations to her memory can be made to St. Michael’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Carlsbad, California.