Dorothy Koeneman Brown

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Dorothy Koeneman Brown, 102, flashed her last earthly smile on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at Mercy Rehab Center, Swansea, IL. She was born in Steeleville, IL, on December 31, 1921, to Hugo and Emma Mevert. She married her high school sweetheart, Roy Koeneman in 1942. They lived most of their married life in Belleville where they raised their three children, Mike, Becky, and Laura.

Dorothy worked as Roy’s secretary in the family business. Later she used her smile to open doors and complete surveys for the United States Census Bureau. While working for the Census, she traveled throughout the Midwest taking surveys and meeting people. Meanwhile, Roy and Dorothy traversed Illinois while he was the Commander of the Illinois American Legion. Roy died in 2001.

After the passing of Roy, Dorothy met Leo Brown in church where they both played handbells together. They were married in 2002. In addition to handbells, Dorothy and Leo sang in the church choir together. They also enjoyed traveling to all parts of the US including Alaska, Hawaii, New England, and the Caribbean. Dining out was a favorite pastime as Leo would take a photo of Dorothy eating, would send it to family, and the family would have to guess “Where is Mom?”

A lot of people think they had the best mom, but with our mom, it was not a competition. It was a way of life.  She walked the walk – and if you were lucky and sat next to her, she talked the talk. She was one of the last generations that carried on a conversation – that told a story. Even more, she loved to sit and hear your story.

At her 100th birthday party, she took the microphone and gave what she described as her dissertation. It was the story of her life. It was the story of the adventures of a century of living. She took us through crossing the United States in a rumble seat car to wading through the waters of the Belleville flood. She recalled names and places with amazing precision. If she met you, she remembered you and your stories. She then retold them. Her memory was the original cassette tape because she could replay the moment with factual specificity. If you didn’t remember something, you’d just call Mom.

In addition to being known for her beautiful smile, Dorothy was also known for her beautiful voice. Fortunate were those who sat next to her in church as her voice lilted and filled the room. She was regularly chosen to sing the National Anthem at the State and National American Legion Conventions. Her rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” will play on in the hearts of her family for years.

Dorothy was a good community servant. When she wasn’t working, raising her children, or shuttling her grandchildren, she was volunteering. You could find her folding church bulletins, volunteering at the Twice Nice Shop, Belleville Bicentennial Shop, LAMS, MindsEye Radio for the Blind, Meals on Wheels, and Zion News, to name a few.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Roy B. Koeneman; her parents, Hugo and Emma Mevert; her brother, Albert (Annabell) Mevert; and many other family members and friends.

She is survived by her loving husband of 22 years, Leo Brown, whom she married on April 13, 2002; her son, Mike (Karen) Koeneman; her daughters, Rebecca (Dan) Schnitzius and Laura (Carol Bartle) Grandy; six grandchildren, Keri (Jason) Hinson, Christopher (Jennifer) Davis, Scott (Danielle) Koeneman, Jules (Jason) Hunter, Todd (Catherine) Davis, and Joe (Chris Voss) Grandy; seven great-grandchildren, Connor Davis, Carter Hinson, Easton Koeneman, Calvin Hunter, Harrison Hunter, Elliana Koeneman, and Betty Davis; she is also survived by two stepchildren, Greg (Sheila) Brown and Amy (Jim) Condron; and many step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.

The family would like to thank Belleville Family Hospice and Mercy Rehab and Care Center for the amazing and loving end-of-life care our mother received.

Memorials may be made to Zion Lutheran Church and Shriners Children’s St. Louis. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation: Friends may visit from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2024, and from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, April 22, 2024, at Zion Lutheran Church, Belleville, IL.

Funeral: Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Monday, April 22, 2024, at Zion Lutheran Church, Belleville, IL, with Pastor Chris Spelbring and Pastor Gary Byers officiating.

Burial will be at a later date at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.


9 Comments on Dorothy Koeneman Brown

Pam Bitters (Hawthorne) said : Guest Report Apr 21, 2024 at 5:55 PM

I had Dorothy as my Sunday school teacher when I was very young going to Zion. She was always happy and loved teaching us Bible stories. She remembered me when I took her x-rays at Memorial, even after 50+ years. I always enjoyed seeing her, she was truly a special lady! My sympathy to your family, you will be in my prayers.

  • Millstadt
  • IL
Barbara and Bob Sweet said : Guest Report Apr 21, 2024 at 10:34 AM

Dorothy was a true “lady” we had the pleasure to know. Her smile was always so beautiful and contagious. We are sure the angels will always appreciate her beautiful songs. Our thoughts and prayers to All who knew and loved Dear Dorothy.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Sandra LeRoy Glueck said : Guest Report Apr 21, 2024 at 7:47 AM


  • Ofallon, Il
  • IL
Rob & Susan Stewart said : Guest Report Apr 20, 2024 at 7:20 PM

Becky, we are so sad to hear about your sweet mom. God blessed you for having her with you all these years. Sending our deepest sympathy.

  • Herrin
  • IL
Chet F Breitwieser said : Guest Report Apr 20, 2024 at 10:56 AM

Laura, Becky and Mike, Such a beautiful gift and blessing you had in your dear mother. Her inspiring life lessons will remain an example for each of us. We hold each of you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. As always, Rod Starns and Chet Breitwieser

  • Belleville
  • IL
Margaret Gehling said : Guest Report Apr 19, 2024 at 9:15 PM

Please accept our condolences as you honor your dear mother's life, Becky. Your family will remain in our prayers. Love. Vic and Margi Gehling

  • Granite City
  • IL
Liz Sullivan said : Guest Report Apr 19, 2024 at 8:09 PM

Becky I am so sorry for the loss of your Mother. I remember you talking about her when we worked at the hospital about how friendly and kind she was and remembered everything about you kids.

  • Highland
  • IL
Russell Swift said : Guest Report Apr 19, 2024 at 3:28 PM

So very sorry Mike to hear of the passing of your mother and would like to send wishes of great strength throughout this time to you and your family. May God be with you all and wrap his loving arms around all of those who need his love. Please accept my condolences.

  • Alma
  • Il
Marilyn Newell Wikgren said : Guest Report Apr 19, 2024 at 1:50 PM

Dorothy and Roy were instrumental in keeping east end Belleville happy and prosperous. We were in Washington School area and knew them through the Paul Seibert family. She was always happy and smiling and keeping everyone in tune with the east end of Belleville. When you went to McDonald's you might have received a wave and smile from Dorothy. A great lady.

  • Freeburg
  • IL

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