The truth is, Brown confides, she would rather stop traffic for a tractor crossing the road than to deal with big-town traffic.
Brown is still involved in the Cattle Call Rodeo Queen competition as one of the committee members. Kelly Hannon, who serves on the committee with Brown, says Brown has a spark about her no matter if she has manure on her shoes or if she’s dressed up for a formal event.
“She is a tremendous person. I wish there were a million more like her with that kind of drive and love,” Hannon says. “There’s so many people who say you should’ve done things this or that way, but Alexis (Brown) will actually come on and join in and help. She’s the first one to do what needs to be done.”
Now Brown has her sights set on continuing to promote Brawley and the community she calls home.
Though nothing can change what happened and she feels the loss of her friend Kyle’s generous, caring spirit every day, Brown says she appreciates her other friends and family now more than ever.
When she remembers that difficult year, Brown says she recalls the best advice she received from one of her inspirations, her sister Lura Poggi.
“She also went through an accident and she’s the strongest woman I know. She’s one of the greatest moms I’ve ever seen. After the accident, she told me one day I’ll wake up and take a baby step. Then another step. And in a long time, I’ll grow and move on,” Brown says. “She was right.”
Family’s Matriarch Makes Marvelous Music
By Gary Redfern
When most people request a birthday dinner it involves a big meal at a fancy restaurant, and the occasion might be even more notable when the guest of honor is turning 92. Not so with Jean Brock.
“What I wanted for my birthday was a hot dog,” she quips. “So we went out to the asparagus shed (for a cook out) and had a lot of my longtime friends come. I just wanted something simple. Of course, Don (her son, Don Brock) cooked chicken for everyone else.”
Her big memory of the March 22 event does not have as much to do with what others gave her as it did with reminding her what she and her late husband Warren achieved.
“It’s sort of shocking,” Brock muses over the large family gathering. “You start out with two and now there’s over 40.”
The granddaughter of Imperial Valley pioneers Reuben and Mary Malan, who started farming in Brawley in 1904, Brock was born in Wasco, Calif., in 1919, one of the many stops in the Methodist pastoral career of her father William. What her father and mother Myrtha gifted to her was music, something she has generously shared through her piano and organ playing for more than 80 years.
On a surprisingly cool late morning in May the smooth chiming of piano notes is heard from her doorstep. Stopping to greet a visitor, Brock rises from the piano in the living room of her El Centro home, answers the door and explains, “ Practicing for a memorial service on Saturday. They want The Beatles.”