June 15 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Jacan Brown. The sudden loss of the 47-year-old in 2009 was a shock to her family, the Effingham County Recreation Department and the community. She was known for her jovial personality, passion for life, personal warmth and the impression she left on all she met.
Clarence Morgan commented this week, “It has been a short year and to say the least she has been missed around here. I have been super lucky to find such a great person to take her place. Jacan will never be replaced but Brenda does a great job and we are so blessed. I know it will be hard for the family this week.”
Morgan, the Effingham Parks and Recreation director, stated in Effingham Now June 21, 2009, “Jacan was the backbone, pillar or rock of the Effingham County Recreation Department.”
Morgan had been her teacher in driver’s education in high school, her boss and her friend. Brown spent just shy of 24 years in county government and was administrative assistant of the Recreation Department when she passed away. She oversaw several responsibilities in the department including bookkeeping and team sports programs. There were many that she knew and befriended over the telephone in the course of her duties that she never met face to face.
She spent much of her time on the telephone and Clarence kidded her often calling her the “phone queen.” She was very dedicated, well organized and the department has had to cope with a great loss over the past year. Although they have managed, her presence is sorely missed and it is not as spirited or lively there as it once was. She always kept everyone straight including her boss and Clarence’s wife even referred to her as “his second wife.”
“She lived every day to the fullest,” co-worker Brenda Bruner said of her late friend. In so doing others around Brown had a larger than life experience, too. The first person people went to in the Rec. Dept. when they wanted to know something was Jacan.
At the time of her death, Effingham Now also stated that Effingham County GIS analyst Araya Araya met Jacan when his family moved here from Africa while he was a student. He played soccer through the recreation department while in his teenage years and returned after college to work for the county. His description of Brown was that of, “a straight shooter.” She was known for cracking a joke and he recalled that she said, “Soccer is a Communist sport. It’s not American”.
Brown was a fixture at political forums and according to the Effingham Herald was frequently drafted to serve as the time keeper and, “She enjoyed the limelight,” according to Morgan, her boss. Rather outspoken, Brown loved being around people.
Jacan had been in charge of the county’s annual spring run for 20 years. After her passing, the run has been named the “Jacan Brown Spring Run” in her memory.
At an early age, she joined the Pentecostal Miracle Deliverance Center and in 2005 she began fellowship with the Alpha and Omega Worship Center and she was a faithful member.
Jacan graduated in 1979 from Effingham County High and received a diploma in business education from a school in Clarksville in north Georgia to work as a clerk typist. Prior to working for the county, Brown operated her own day care business in her home before she decided to work outside the home. Always having a big heart, in 2002, Jacan and husband Isaiah took a 2-week-old baby by the name of Dion Duncan into their home and reared the godson as their own.
Not only was she a pillar in the community, Jacan Brown was the matriarch and rock of her family. She is survived by husband Isaiah Brown, son Zachary Brown, daughter Ashley Brown and son Dion Duncan. She was survived also by her father, James Steel of Port Wentworth and sisters Jhiquita Young and Angela (Williams) Scruggs and a brother Gregory Steel along with a host of other relatives and friends.
A huge visitation for Jacan was held on Friday, June 19, 2009, in the Effingham County Recreation Department Gym. The funeral was held on a hot Saturday at 11 a.m. on June 20, 2009, at Royal Temple Holiness Church located on Samuel Smalls Sr. Avenue in Guyton with burial at Union Spring Cemetery in Clyo.
In lieu of flowers, two scholarships were set up in Jacan’s memory through Clarence Morgan at the Recreation Department. One is offered each year to a cheerleader going to college from Effingham County High and the other for her godson, Dion Duncan. Donations can still be made at Citizens Bank of Effingham in Springfield. The first scholarship in Jacan’s memory was presented on Class Night at ECHS to Takeyra Dixon of
Clyo. She received $750 for the first year and $500 for the second year.
Although a void will always exist in her family and the Recreation Department, for all who were fortunate enough to have worked with her or met her through sports, Jacan’s memory lives on through the children she and Isaiah have: Ashley, Zachary and Dion. The scholarships established in her name are a legacy for a cheerleader from Effingham High aspiring to higher education and to offer a bright future for Dion Duncan that Jacan loved as her own. According to Isaiah the family has gotten through this year with their love for each other and their faith in God.
I am sure when the Recreation Department gets really quiet, as it seldom did while Jacan was there, those who knew her long to hear her voice again chatting away a mile a minute on her well used telephone.
This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society utilizing: an article, “County Mourns loss of Community Pillar” in Effingham Now 6/21/2009, info from Effingham Herald, comments of Clarence Morgan and Isaiah Brown. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.