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Marjan Brown '08 dies after suffering appendicitis

A burst appendix ended tragically for Marjan Brown ’08 shortly after her 22nd birthday and just days before she was to have received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from San Jose State University. She also minored in criminology and African American Studies.

A popular student at SI and a longtime participant in the Magis Program, Marjan was rushed to Seton Hospital in Daly City by her mother on May 19 after experiencing pain.

After four surgeries, she died June 24. A funeral service followed on July 2 at Allen Chapel Church in San Francisco.

At the service, she was celebrated for her talent as a liturgical praise dancer and for putting herself through college working as a teller at Bank of America.

A graduate of San Francisco Day School, Marjan played basketball at SI and was a member of the Association of African American Students.

Her mother, Paulette Russell, added that Marjan “was outgoing, happy and loved to joke with everyone.”

Magis Director Abram Jackson added that “Marjan was a young woman with a vibrant spirit. From the first day that I met her, she seemed to exude an extraordinary confidence and light.”

Jackson also took Marjan and fellow Magis students to Seattle for a summit of African American students who were attending Jesuit high schools. Later, Jackson brought Magis students to SJSU where Marjan served as a tour guide. “She praised the way SI prepared her academically for college,” said Jackson.

Matt Balano, SI’s director of equity and inclusion also invited Marjan to be part of a panel discussion on the experiences of minorities at SI. He praised Marjan, calling her “a shining star who was wise beyond her years. With Marjan, you could always count on sharp, on-point analysis, truth and lots of laughter. She was so talented. In her short life, she left quite a mark.”

Last spring, Marjan paid Jackson a surprise visit. “She came to deliver an invitation to her graduation ceremony. I was so proud of her and excited.”

Marjan’s classmate at SI and SJSU, Victoria Gomez ’08, recalls Marjan as filled with “the sound of laughter. When I think of her, I see images of her dancing around the room. I met her on the first day of classes at SI, and I was fortunate to spend my last class with her in college. We shared a passion for social justice and spent hours talking about our goals. She wanted to pursue law school. Although she is no longer here to fulfill her dreams, I plan to honor her legacy through my own endeavors.”

Chris Delaney, SI counselor and moderator of the Association of African American Students, praised Brown’s role as club co-president. “She inspired, encouraged and promoted diversity within our community. Marjan showed her passion for her African American culture as she taught the greater SI community about our rich culture. Marjan was a pioneer at leading discussions, hosting and planning social events, encouraging members to do community service and assisting her African American peers to feel a part of the SI community. Her skill as a dancer was phenomenal as she blessed us all with her style and ability. When she invited me to her college graduation, I was so proud of her that I cried tears of joy at her accomplishment.”

For Marjan’s funeral, both Balano and Jackson served as pallbearers. Later, the Magis office created a Dia de los Muertos altar in memory of this remarkable young woman.

Marjan is survived by her mother, Paulette Russell; her father, Robert Brown; her brother, Robert Brown, Jr.; her sister, Andrea Brown-Torres; and her grandparents.

Donations may be made to the Ernest Ingold boys and Girls Club of San Francisco, where Marjan played basketball for several years. 

Posted by Mr. Paul J. Totah on Tuesday January, 15, 2013 at 04:24PM


Her mom and I would like to thank the S.I. community for all of your LOVE and your support for our daughter. THANK YOU.

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