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Gayle Moseley Browne

Obituary for Gayle Moseley Browne

August 24, 1936 - March 13, 2019
Austin, Texas | Age 82


Gayle Moseley Browne, 82, left this Earthly plain and joined her beloved husband, Jim Browne, on Wednesday, March 13th. She spent her last hours surrounded by friends and family and passed quietly.

Gayle is survived by her brother William G. Moseley, her son Clayton Browne, her son Duncan Browne and his wife Jennifer, and her daughter Valerie Bradley and her husband Don Bradley, as well as six grandchildren.

In her public persona, Gayle was a nursery school teacher and child development specialist, an antique dealer, a gourmet cook, and a loving wife and doting mother to two sons and a daughter.

Unknown to most, Gayle, like her husband Jim, was a secret Good Samaritan, and a nearly inexhaustible source of emotional and financial support to anyone or any creature she knew needed help. The scores of friends, acquaintances, and animals whose lives she touched will all attest to her good deeds. Gayle could no more resist helping a troubled soul or injured animal that crossed her path than she could resist a second dark chocolate cherry cordial at 11:30 pm just before bed.

Helping others was second nature to mom, a deep-seated emotional reflex that reflected her unquenchable empathy for all of God's creatures. And I do mean ALL of God's creatures, including abandoned kittens and puppies, broken-winged sparrows, and even baby skunks.

Everybody knows you really don't want to mess with a skunk, no matter what the size. But that general knowledge did not deter Gayle Browne from attempting to rescue a lost two-finger-long baby skunk one warm summer evening at the river house in New Braunfels.

Her noble endeavor ended up much as one might anticipate, with a direct skunk spray across her chest and neck. Despite her diligent efforts to scrub off the odor, she smelled skunky for a solid week.

For more than a decade, mom and dad co-habited with a cute Jack Russel mix named Stormy. The lucky dog got his name because mom rescued him after he was washed into storm drain during a thunderstorm as a young puppy, and she heard his soft yelping as she left the bakery and walked to her car.

Stormy was her constant companion for the next 11 years. Mom even managed to get Stormy certified as a "therapy dog" so he could travel with her.

Her empathy for animals began at a young age. According to her brother, she once brought home a white lab rat she was supposed to euthanize after an experiment in a psychology class at U of A, and it ended up becoming his pet rat.

Mom also rescued people, which meant she had a rather eclectic social network to say the least. Her many friends included numerous university colleagues, a hippie woodcarver who lived in his van for the first year or two she knew him, and a former Navy Seabee, postman and air conditioner technician 20 years her senior.

Moreover, Gayle Browne counted anyone who contributed to her household as a friend, and that meant all of her domestic help worked with her, not for her, and were always treated like extended family.

Gayle was a brilliant, hard-working student who attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, for one year, taking five or six classes every semester. Gayle then transferred to the University of Alabama, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in just two more years. After hearing good things about Austin as growing city with a great climate, Gayle was admitted to the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a Master's in child development in just three semesters.

Gayle also met Jim Browne, the love of her life, in Austin. Gayle and Jim got married in 1959. Clay was born in June of 1961, Duncan in September, 1962, and Valerie in March of 1966. Gayle had an active professional career in child development, including teaching nursery school for several years, and co-authoring two textbooks on early childhood development.

Not surprisingly, given her lifelong love of old things, Gayle became antique dealer in the early 1970s, The antiques business became a lifelong passion for her, especially antique jewelry.

Gayle and Jim both loved to travel, and they were fortunate enough to travel all across the United States and visit almost every country on their bucket list, including India, China, Japan, the Galapagos, Australia, and half a dozen visits to Europe.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Settlement Home for Children. Since her death, family and friends have been sharing and enjoying stories and laughter about Gayle Browne and Jim Browne. Please join us for more of the same in a "Celebration of Life" at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, Texas, on Saturday, March 30th at Noon with reception to follow.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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