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Posted Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A memorial service will be held on Jan. 7 in Chatham for the late New Jersey State Senator Leanna Brown, who passed away peacefully in the presence of family at her son Steve’s home on December 15th. She was 81.

Leanna Brown

Leanna Brown


Leanna was a force in the New Jersey Republican Party. Politics was her calling. She was a true public servant, sincerely caring about the welfare of her constituents. Leanna served in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature, representing the 26th district.

In 1980 she was elected to the New Jersey Assembly. In 1983 she became the first Republican woman to be elected to the New Jersey Senate where she served for 10 years.

Leanna was born in Providence, RI to Esther and Harold Young. She attended the Northfield School for Girls and then Smith College. She married W. Stanley Brown, her high school sweetheart, in 1956. In 1961 they moved to Chatham, where Leanna launched her political career.

She served on the Chatham Borough Council from 1969 to 1972 and then was elected to the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, becoming the director in 1976. In 1978 she was named president of the New Jersey Association of Counties.

After 13 years in the New Jersey Legislature, Leanna was appointed to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission where she served for 6 years. She worked on President George W. Bush’s transition team, and in 2007 she was appointed by him to serve on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

Leanna traveled extensively with her husband Stan and their grandchildren. In particular, she enjoyed her numerous trips to Africa and was an avid collector of native art. She also was a dedicated member of her reading group that met regularly for 54 years.

Leanna is predeceased by her husband Stan, and is survived by her sister Lucinda (Thorpe), her children Bill (Kathy) and Steve (Cher), her grandchildren Rob, Tom, Joe, Maggie, Sid and Brit, and her great-granddaughter Andromeda. She was a loving wife and mother, a tireless advocate for the residents of the State of New Jersey, and a strong supporter of women’s causes. She will be greatly missed by all.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 7th at 11:00 am at the Stanley Congregational Church in Chatham. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Leanna Brown Scholarship Fund, care of the church.

Read statement on Leanna Brown from the Morris County Board of Freeholders.