Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Rachel Brownell ’07

March 12, 2019, in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

Born on a sun-filled autumn morning, Rachel was a protective sister to Carrie and loved to draw, dance, read, and play. As a child she was unable to write a word and let it sit alone on the page. When she became a teacher, she loved teaching students to read and the experience of watching unknown words becoming known.

At Reed, she majored in French and wrote her thesis, “The Construction of Identity through Structure and Content in the Fiction of Anne Hébert,” advised by Prof. Ann Delehanty [French 2000–]. Rachel worked in Philadelphia, first as a reading interventionist at Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School and then as a special education teacher at Mastery Charter Schools.

“Rachel Brownell was and is a student I will never forget,” said Prof. Delahanty. “I loved working with her for a variety of reasons—she had an incredible wit, an outspoken personality that lit up every classroom that she was in, and a tenacity that is rarely found in any of us. Rachel was unconditionally supportive of me as a teacher. She took every opportunity to express her gratitude for any help that I gave her, to proclaim loudly to the entire class how reasonable my expectations were (this was a truly wonderful aspect of her personality—she was Olde Reed through and through and would not allow her classmates to get away with complaining at any assignment no matter how long), and to ask me how I was doing even when she might have had struggles of her own. When I wrote to check in with her a couple of years ago, she wrote back with full-hearted enthusiasm and support for the work we are doing at Reed. Her dedication and devotion to her friends was always so apparent to me. She was a wise soul who sought to do her best work, no matter what. It’s appropriate that she was a French major since she was one of those students who possessed an inexpressible je ne sais quoi that made it a pleasure to work with her. I am so grateful that I had a chance to work with Rachel as her thesis adviser and to get to know her as a person. I am sorry that the world will miss having her supportive and loving presence.”

Rachel is survived by her parents, Bruce Brownell and Mary Chris Legato Brownell; her sister, Carrie, and her beloved nephew, Jude.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2019

comments powered by Disqus