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E. Louise Flechtner Brierton ’44

May 5, 2020, in Davidsville, Pennsylvania.

 Born in Twin Falls, Idaho, Louise was the daughter of Gustav Flechtner, a concert violinist and orchestra conductor who taught at the Oregon City Conservatory of Music and was associated with the Portland Symphony. Due to his wife’s ill health, he relocated to Twin Falls and took a job as a music teacher and band leader at public schools in Twin Falls and Jerome, Idaho. To earn extra money, he played the violin at a silent movie theater in Jerome.

 Louise and her sister, Augusta, worked summers after high school in Sun Valley, Idaho. Louise represented Sun Valley and the state of Idaho at the 1939 Miss America Pageant, where she was voted fifth runner-up to Miss America. During the talent portion of the pageant, she played Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust on the clarinet her father had given her as a child.

 Louise attended Reed, but transferred to Stanford University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in humanities and social sciences. She met her husband, Dr. John Brierton, at a football game and they were married in 1943. Shortly thereafter, John was assigned to duty as a chest surgeon in the naval hospital on Espiritu Santo Island in the New Hebrides near Australia. Louise reunited with her husband when he returned from the war with a depressed skull fracture. Until his death in 1966, they were never separated again. They raised four children in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where Louise worked in John’s medical office as a secretary and receptionist, while also working as a homemaker and mother. She served as the sole caregiver during John’s 10-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

 Louise is survived by her children, Louise Michaud ’78, Robert Brierton, and Ann Zellers.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2020

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